Schizophrenia: Reproductive Hormones and the Brain

Mental Health

I originally posted this article in April.  I loved it so much, I’m sharing it again!

(From April 2010) I’m always searching for articles that show the importance of hormone balance to mental health.  Today, I stumbled on a jewel.

Dr. Janice R. Stevens of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon noted that the onset of schizophrenia occurs during the reproductive period (puberty) in 80% of those affected.

Could the increase of steroid hormones during puberty have something to do with schizophrenia’s onset?  I think so.  And Dr. Stevens does too.

In her article, “Schizophrenia: Reproductive Hormones and the Brain,” Dr. Steven’s explains how the brain is flooded with high amounts of estrogen and testosterone throughout the reproductive years.  She says that if these excitatory hormones aren’t counterbalanced they can cause hyperexcitability and seizures.  Both of these symptoms are very common in schizophrenia.

One of progesterone’s roles in the brain and body is to balance the effects of estrogen.

And yes, men have estrogen too!

An enzyme in the male brain converts testosterone into estrogen, for the male brain to use.

Estrogen isn’t a “bad” hormone, but it’s extremely toxic when not properly balanced by progesterone.

I’m not trying to shake the mental health system up, but preventative treatments need to be explored.  Why shouldn’t we explore steroid hormones as a viable treatment? We already know that healthy brains need them and we know through articles like Dr. Steven’s that they are unbalanced in mentally ill people.

If you are interested in reading Dr. Steven’s full-length article, please click here.  In order to open the article, you will need to click on the link that says “Begin manual download.”

Good luck to you!

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