Hormonal Imbalance Causing Bipolar Cycling?


Asked by Jetwriter

Hormonal Imbalance Causing Bipolar Cycling?

My rapid cycling bipolar II started at puberty 40 yrs ago. I would have a month of higher energy of agitation, irritability for approximately 25 days then have 5 days of transition which was like intense pms symptoms then flip down for 25 days with deep depression. Just like clockwork. I started in therapy and on medication when I was 28. Nothing changed the intensity or the underlying anger and depression. I was diagnosed as borderline with atypical bipolar II. When I was 32 I had a complete hysterectomy due to endometriosis. The sudden estrogen drop sent me down the bottomless pit of depression. I was started on a daily dose of estrogen which helped the underlying depression but not the cycling or the refractory depression. The cycling remained constistant and regular. Up a month and down a month.

I have been through many hospitalizations like a revolving door trying every antidepressant and mood stabilizer on the market. In 2000 Lamictal hit the market and worked for me. It cleared up the underlying anger and chronic depression. Then I was able to put the behavior mods in effect. But the bipolar continued and I was still on premarin. The depression got worse and I was switched to Estrace which cleared that up but the cycling unaffected.

Now I'm in menopause the cycling which had been predictable is erractic and intense. I realize that the body will continue to make estrogen without ovaries or uterus. I did have estrogen and progesterone levels taken during my three cycle changing. They were basically the same. I was put on progesterone which landed me in the hospital for psychotic depression. Testosterone did the same thing.

I've done research on the net and found another person who cycles like me. We are about the same age. She had extensive hormonal testing that revealed nothing. I am missing some piece of info that would explain the cycling. Some malfunctioning hormone or gland has to be there. My adreneal glands have checked out.

I have been suicidal since I was 14 and I'm really, really tired. I was hoping that eventually my body would hit menopause and things would clear up. It is super intense and even when I'm feeling good I'm thinking about death. I have weekly contact with my therapist and monthly contact with my pdoc. I've asked for ect for years and years but wasn't considered a candidate because I never felt good. Now my pdoc is seriously considering ect.

I've hit my wall. I don't think that any amount of zapping is going to clear up a hormonal imbalance. Two weeks ago I started putting my affairs in order. I'm feeling pretty good now yet am clearing up loose ends. He said that we would discuss the ect next time I go down which will probably be in a couple weeks. I seriously doubt the effectiveness of anything against the depression. When I'm done cycling I'll probably be in the depression which will go on forever. I've stayed alive for my family, i have no dependents or kids and now just want peace. My med combo is working. I can feel the balance. I'm off sugar and sugar free foods as they make me goofy. I'm going to try accupuncture again just in case it will work this time.

I saw my pdoc yesterday and he knows all of these thoughts. I just want to make sure I've tried everything before throwing in the towel. So I'm searching again to find if anyone is doing or has done research on some obscure hormone that causes cyclical depression.


Hi, Jetwriter. More women than men experience rapid cycling, so it stands to reason that something hormonal is probably going on. The catch is, due to lack of research, we are fairly clueless. It is adviseable to consult with a specialist doctor. He/she may have some insights that your psychiatrist may be lacking.

Also, consider other factors. Antidepressants and stimulants may speed up cycling. As well as being highly sensitive to hormonal flows, you may be highly sensitive to other things, such as caffeine, disruptions to sleep schedules and other routines, junk food, etc.

By all means, keep investigating the hormone connection, but also make sure your life around you isn't cycling, either. I'm sure you're already doing this, as you appear to be the kind of person to leave no stone unturned.

Answered by John McManamy