Can Hormones Cause Anxiety

Hormones and anxiety

The link between the two

I bet you must have experienced painful of anxiety at some point in life. Isn’t it? Anxiety is such a common phenomenon that it is inevitable for anyone to escape its effect.

So, what exactly is anxiety? According to American Psychological Association,  anxiety is an emotion identified as causing tension worrying thoughts,  leading to physical reactions such as raised blood pressure:1

If the statistics are to believe, approximately 970 million people worldwide suffer from mental health issues, and 284 million of anxiety are contributing to these staggering figures2

There are a plethora of reasons that can make you feel anxious. Some of these are:3

  • Medications
  • Substance or drug abuse
  • Panic Disorders
  • Past experiences

Besides these factors, hormonal imbalance plays a role that precipitates anxiety issues.

So, what are hormones? Do its imbalance be a reason for your anxious behaviour? 

Hormones are chemical substances produced by your endocrine glands that help to regulate the activities of different cells and organs.1

In other words, hormones are your body’s way to transmit and maintaining chemical equilibrium. For example, our hormones communicate hungrily or tell us when our body demands sleep. 

They are also behind our unexpected mood swings and fuel energy in our body with strength when there is a dreadful situation.

Your hormones maintain a calm, healthy vibe with your body; everything works smoothly.  But if the hormonal system is disturbed, it can cause interference in the normal physiology of the body. We can experience multiple symptoms, for instance, anxiety.

Can hormones cause anxiety?

The Majority of us can link our anxiety issue with a particular reason. Say, for instance, you might recollect a horrible experience. Suddenly your heart rate increases, your face flushes and you lose control of your senses. 

Nevertheless, for some work pressure might be the inducing factor. 

These are considered the external factors responsible for causing anxiety. Yet, some of us fail to understand why we feel worried or why suddenly there is a loss of energy and appetite.

In such instances, internal factors like hormonal imbalance can be a contributing factor.  Many hormones that can source anxiety disorders. However, cortisol is the primary factor for mood or anxiety disorder. 

Thyroid sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and oxytocin (the love hormone) are other chemical messengers that muddle up your body’s composure. 

How do hormones affect anxiety?

Let us have a look at how these hormones  are unsettling for your mood:

Cortisol and adrenaline

You might have experienced a sudden rush of energy that helps you either fight back or run away from a fearful situation. Isn’t it? This rushis not other than cortisol or adrenaline hormone that is secreted by the hypothalamus-pituitary axis.2

Cortisol and adrenaline shoot up during fight-and-flight conditions. Thus they are generally called “stress hormones”. 

These hormones have extensive effects on the body:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Raised Blood Pressure
  • Elevated blood glucose levels
  • Fast Metabolism

These actions of stress hormones help combat stressful situations. In instances when you are not in the flight-or-fight situation, your adrenal glands secrete stress hormones ending up feeling anxious.

Sex hormones

Sex Hormones are a group of steroidal hormones that includes estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.4

Irregular levels of these hammered your mood in no time. Yes, sex hormone imbalance can be tormenting for women.

According to the research, women are twice more prone to develop psychiatric and mood disorders than men. Not only do they develop signs and symptoms in a higher ratio but,  experience them in a more debilitating form.

The most common example  are women  suffering from premenstrual mood swings. The concentration of estrogen during the premenstrual, menstrual, and menopausal phases is pretty high, resulting in unexplained anxiety attacks.5

On the other hand, the male sex hormone testosterone has demonstrated anxiolytic activities.  Contrary to estrogen, a high level of testosterone helps relieve anxiety. Therefore, males suffering from hypogonadism ( lower male sex hormone is produced) usually suffer from anxiety stress6 

Thyroid hormone

It is a well-known fact that people suffering from thyroid hormone imbalance, especially hypothyroidism, tend to be sluggish, lazy, and irritable. Studies have shown that hypothyroid patients are more than twice likely to suffer from anxiety disorders.7

Besides anxiety, thyroid hormone imbalance can also lead to depression and prevalence rate of approximately 20.5%. About 30 to 40 per cent of hypothyroid patients show symptoms associated with anxiety: irritability, poor concentration, slow learning8

Moreover, it becomes harder for anxious patients to follow their thyroid medications diligently. Anxiety and mood disorders associated with thyroid disorders also tend to hit women more than men, a prevalence of 13%.

Tips to manage and get rid of hormonal anxiety

Most of the time, we tend to convince ourselves that the anxiety we are going through is just in our heads and holds no significance. Isn’t it? But only if we know some factors ignite this painful, helpless feeling.

External factors such as workload, relationship issues, unpleasant past experiences, and physical trauma are overlooked. However, the imbalance of chemical messengers called hormones are the most ignored aetiology. 

The first and foremost step towards controlling hormonal anxiety is to acknowledge hormones are responsible. The best way to do so is by consulting your physician. Yes, no one else can better diagnose the reason behind those anxiety pangs and treat them.

However, there are a few steps that you can follow to control anxiety issues:

Exercise regularly: This has to be my personal favourite and guarantees soothing your anxiety in wonderful ways. Make a habit of exercising every day for 30 minutes to keep in check your raised cortisol levels. 

A way to soothe anxiety is to make a habit of exercising 30 minutes every day to keep in check your raised cortisol level. I recommend it. Besides lowering stress hormones, exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins that act as natural painkillers and mood.

Sleep peacefully: Sleep is directly related to hormonal imbalance. Chemical messengers that follow a circadian rhythm. Its concentration falls and rises depending on the time of the day.9

Studies have demonstrated that a poor sleep cycle can result in symptoms such as anxiety and obesity. Thus, next time you experience signs of stress, try to get a good night’s sleep. 

A balanced diet is key: Avoid carbs and junk if you want to say bye to anxiety issues. Yes, a diet rich in fibre, omega-3, and fermented foods are known to reduce stress levels. Indulge yourself in a bowl of cereals or enjoy a fresh glass of squeezed fruit juices to elevate your mood.10

Do something you love: Pick up your favourite novel. Take a stride in a park, go swimming, or lose yourself to music; do whatever kicks in some happy hormones in your system. Relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation are known to be effective in stressed mood.

Things to remember

When it comes to anxiety  causing hormonal imbalance in the body, there are  factor that you must keep in mind:

  1. Know your symptoms:

Increased heart rate, raised blood sugar levels, elevated blood pressure, and irritable mood are some of the features of anxiety disorder.

Knowing and understanding their occurrence will help you appropriately deal with them.

  1. Always consult your health-care worker:

It is wise to contact with your physician to overcome your fears and doubts. They will help you identify the true cause behind it.

  1. Take it easy and have a deep breath:

Do not stress out. Recreational activities, practices, have a healthy meal and sleeping tight. Things will surely get better.


Anxiety is a common phenomenon. 

An anxious person dances like a pendulum from high to low on the mood scale. Knowing the reason behind such behaviour helps to reduce anxiety.

Many factors cause anxiety. Hormonal imbalance plays the principal role.   Cortisol, thyroid hormone, and sex hormones are critical in maintaining a person’s mood. Disturbance of these chemical messengers gives rise to anxiety.

Women are more prone to anxiety disorders, especially during pre-pubertal and menstrual phases. 

Dealing with hormonal imbalance through meditation, yoga, following a proper sleep cycle, and having a healthy diet might help relieve anxious states. So, next time you have a heavy heart or a rough day due to raging hormones. Remember that you are not the only one in it. 


  1. Hiller-Sturmhöfel S, Bartke A. The endocrine system: an overview. Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(3):153–64.
  2. Cay M, Ucar C, Senol D, Cevirgen F, Ozbag D, Altay Z, et al. Effect of increase in cortisol level due to stress in healthy young individuals on dynamic and static balance scores. North Clin Istanb. 2018;5(4):295–301.
  3. Lee DY, Kim E, Choi MH. Technical and clinical aspects of cortisol as a biochemical marker of chronic stress. BMB Rep. 2015 Apr;48(4):209–16.
  4. Malik Aubead N. Role of sex hormones in human body. In: Marsh C, editor. Reproductive Hormones [Internet]. IntechOpen; 2021 [cited 2022 Dec 19]. Available from:
  5. Maeng LY, Milad MR. Sex differences in anxiety disorders: Interactions between fear, stress, and gonadal hormones. Hormones and Behavior [Internet]. 2015 Nov [cited 2022 Dec 19];76:106–17. Available from:
  6. DiBlasio CJ, Hammett J, Malcolm JB, Judge BA, Womack JH, Kincade MC, et al. Prevalence and predictive factors for the development of de novo psychiatric illness in patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. Can J Urol. 2008 Oct;15(5):4249–56; discussion 4256.
  7. Siegmann EM, Müller HHO, Luecke C, Philipsen A, Kornhuber J, Grömer TW. Association of depression and anxiety disorders with autoimmune thyroiditis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 1;75(6):577–84.
  8. Bathla M, Singh M, Relan P. Prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among patients with hypothyroidism. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016;20(4):468–74.
  9. Kim TW, Jeong JH, Hong SC. The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. Int J Endocrinol. 2015;2015:591729.
  10. Singh K. Nutrient and stress management. J Nutr Food Sci [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2022 Dec 19];6(4). Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Surangama Lehri

Masters - Oral Medicine and Radiology, India

Dr. Surangama Lehri is a practicing Oral Physician and Maxillofacial Radiologist with a strong passion in the field of Medical Writing. She has 3 years of clinical exposure and experience in working with Oral Cancer patients.

Dr. Lehri actively works in the field of Tobacco Cessation in her country and believes in creating awareness regarding importance of Oral Health.

She has been writing Scientific Research papers since past 3 years and has published around 18 articles to her credit in Indexed Journals. She is also part of Editorial Board at “International Journal of Drug Research and Dental Science” and is currently working as full-time Assistant Professor in a Dental
College in India. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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