Especially for women, the answer is a resounding YES. In my psychotherapy practice, I get a number of women clients who casually say "i think its just my hormones" without knowing exactly what that means, or how to address a potential hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance has become a catch all phrase for explaining seemingly inexplicable physical and mental symptoms that women often experience. The truth is, it really could be that your hormones are out of balance.
Hormonal imbalance may be contributing to or even causing a variety of physical and mental health symptoms. If you are experiencing a range of mental and physical health symptoms such as PMS, PMDD, irritability, mood swings, painful or heavy menstrual cycles, hot flashes, insomnia, headaches/migraines around your cycle, it is well worth looking into these conditions and finding out the root cause(s).
But where to start? Your doctor is a great starting point, however unfortunately not all doctors are knowledgeable about women's health issues. If you get a dismissive response when you ask about the possibility of hormonal imbalance related to your symptoms, or are told to get on the pill to address your symptoms, then you may want to consider educating yourself about your body so that you are better prepared to take the lead in driving your own care. Ultimately your health is up to you, and truthfully, it is you who must drive the process of getting healthy. You may have to be patient with your doctor as he or she tries to understand what you know about your health, and how you would like to address your concerns.
Doctor Lara Briden ND, who in her book The Period Repair Manual, states that
"For too long, women's hormones have been thrown in the "too hard basket" and managed with birth control. Now I invite you to think differently about your hormones. I invite you to use them as a force for good that benefits every aspect of your mood, metabolism and physiology."
Doctor Briden makes good on her invitation, and has written a science based, practical, easy to use manual for everything from PMS to perimenopause, and hormone supplementation. This book is one of my most recommended books for women who may have underlying health issues impacting their mental health. She even includes a section with very specific suggestions for how to talk to your doctor to get a good result.
Unfortunately women's health is not always well understood by some medical doctors. The bottom line is whatever your mental health symptoms are, it is always important to rule out causes which may be rooted in underlying medical conditions. For women, hormones and the menstrual cycle are intricately connected to health and may be at the bottom of a host of mental health symptoms and should be considered when ruling out underlying health issues. The good news, is that once any underlying issues are understood, effective treatments are available. Most treatments are fairly straightforward and do not require pharmacological intervention.