The Role of Estrogen in the Treatment of Depression

August 23, 2018

The Role of Estrogen in the Treatment of Depression

Getting to the underlying cause of depression can be challenging, however hormone decline is often the culprit. We’ve talked a lot about how a decline in progesterone can negatively affect women’s moods and cause depression, but did you know that a decline in estrogen can do so, as well? A new research study further supports evidence of what we already know – that estrogen has a role in optimal brain health and relieving depression.

Estrogen Helps Prevent Depression After a Heart Attack

A new research study published in the American Journal of Physiology demonstrates that estrogen may prevent depression after heart attack. Patients with heart failure have a high prevalence of depression associated with a worse prognosis, particularly in older women. The results suggest that estrogen prevents depression-like behavior induced by heart failure after a heart attack by inhibiting neuroinflammation. (1)

Estrogen and Your Brain

Estrogen has always been known for its role in the regulation of ovulation and reproduction in women, but increasing evidence documents the profound effects of estrogen on learning, memory, and mood, as well as neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative processes. There is mounting recognition that estrogen plays important roles in the male brain, as well. Estrogen-based therapy therefore holds considerable promise for brain disorders that affect both men and women. (2)

Estrogen and Depression

The pivotal role of ovarian hormones in the cause of female depression suggests a potential role of estrogen and progesterone in the treatment of mood disorders in women. The available research indicates that estrogen may be effective in relieving depressive symptoms. For example, estrogen treatment repeatedly improves the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS and may be effective for postpartum depression. Clinical studies indicate that estrogen replacement improves mood and increases the sense of well-being in postmenopausal women with no or mild depressive symptoms.

Studies show that estrogen can remedy the symptoms of perimenopausal depression. (3) Research demonstrates that estrogen alone seems to be beneficial for improving mood in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Estrogen is superior to placebo for reproductive-related mood disorders, including postpartum depression and mild depressive disorders during perimenopause. (4)

Could Your Depression be Caused by Estrogen Decline?

Are you experiencing depressed moods? Take our symptom checker today to help you identify what symptoms you have and what could be the underlying cause, so that you can get the right treatment.

1. Sex Differences in Depression-Like Behavior and Neuroinflammation in Rats Post MI: Role of Estrogens
2. Estrogen Actions in the Brain and the Basis for Differential Action in Men and Women: A Case for Sex-Specific Medicines
3. Estrogen-Mediated Effects on Depression and Memory Formation in Females
4. Role of Estrogen in the Treatment of Depression


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