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Menopause and Depression

Menopause and Depression overview

Menopause is the natural process that a woman's body goes through. The body starts to prepare itself to end fertility and no longer release eggs from the ovaries. During this process, the levels of hormones will change, and certain symptoms can occur especially in the perimenopause stage. These changes can take years until menopause has been reached. Menopause is defined when a woman has had an absence of a period for twelve months. The change in hormone levels can cause certain symptoms some woman will suffer more than others.

Woman has reported symptoms of anxiety, tension, mood swings and depression. It is believed there is a definite link between the menopause and depression, it is not uncommon for a woman to have feelings of frustration and sadness. The link between the menopause and depression can be added to by other symptoms insomnia, hot sweats, weight gain and the realization that fertility is coming to an end. Woman tend to suffer more of the symptoms in early menopause as all the hormones are constantly changing.

Cause of Menopause and Depression

Research has shown that depression is one of the less common effects of menopause, around 8% to 15% of woman suffer from some depression. The link between menopause and depression are not entirely understood experts have certain theories. Changing hormone levels- During the menopause the levels of hormones cane menopause fluctuate dramatically, these certain hormones are thought to be control mood centers in the brain. The hormones estrogen, progesterone and androgen are fluctuating all the time, this can cause a woman to feel a change in moods. Research has shown at least 50% of woman will be effected and experience mood swings of in a some type, but not always depression. Some woman can experience such a drop in mood that can result in depression. Stress of the menopause- The menopause can become a stressful point in a woman's life especially if to symptoms are severe. This is a enormous physical change for a woman to go through, put this together with normal day to day stress and it could become the onset to depression. It is beneficial to remember that menopause and depression only happens in around 15% of woman. Most woman may just suffer with mood swings or irritability. If a woman is finding the symptoms of the menopause too much cope with by themselves there is treatment available.

Risk factors of menopause and depression

Certain factors can make a woman more likely to suffer from depression during the menopause than other woman. Research has shown woman who previously have suffered with depression especially in their early twenties are at more risk of their depression returning. Woman who have under gone a surgical menopause is also thought to be at a greater risk. Experts believable this are due to the rapid decrease in the levels of estrogen caused when having surgical menopause. People who lead stressful lifestyles or have young children are thought to be in a higher risk category for menopause and depression. Symptoms of depression

Depression can cause social, physical and physiological symptoms, it can cause a person to lose interest in things that was once enjoyed. Symptoms can include: constant low moods or sadness,

feel hopeless and helpless

low self-esteem,


feelings of guilt,

feeling irritable and intolerant of others,

lack of motivation

little or no interest in things,

difficulty making decisions,

lack of enjoyment,

suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming someone else,

feelings of being anxious or worried,

Menopause can cause some of these symptoms but if they continue or begin to cause concern it is crucial to seek professional guidance.

Treatments for menopause and depression

If a woman thinks she may be suffering with menopause depression it is important to seek help. There are different options available for treatment of depression, these can help reduce symptoms. Treatment for depression will depend on whether it is physical or physiological depression. A health professional will be able to advise on the best course of treatment. Treatment for depression can be broken down into three categories; Lifestyle, alternative medicine and medication. It is always better to start with lifestyle changes consisting of a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise. The treatment is also dependent on the severity of the depression. Lifestyle changes- regular exercise of at least 30 minutes a day, and healthy balanced meals at regular times. Yoga is a good exercise for menopausal woman, it is thought it can also help with joints, aching joints is also a symptom of menopause.

Alternative medicine- Herbal remedies and acupuncture have been considered for some people as alternative way to treat depression. Acupuncture entails fine sterile needles being inserted in to the body at varies points. This is a Chinese treatment and is can be quite expensive. More woman are turning towards herbal remedies. It is important to take note that even something that says it is natural does not automatically means it is safe. The two types of herbal remedies for treating menopause and depression are phytoestrogen and non-estrogenic herbs. Black Cohosh which is a phytoestrogen herb contain estrogenic elements, it is naturally produced by the plant in which the supplement is derived from.

Medication- your doctor may prescribe anti depressants to try and balance the moods. If the doctors thinks the link between menopause and depression are the cause your doctor may suggest HRT (hormone replacement therapy)