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6 Reasons for Depression During Menopause

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Reasons for depression during menopauseWhy does depression happen during menopause?


Many women find that they feel depressed and despondent during menopause, beginning during perimenopause. There can be many reasons for your feelings of sadness, from biological ones related to changing estrogen levels to life situations which may occur during that time of your life.

Physical symptoms of depression can include fatigue, a lack of energy, change in appetite, and headaches. You can also experience feelings of hopelessness, sadness, indifference, and dejection. Combined, these symptoms can be debilitating and strongly affect your quality of life and relationships.

Knowing more about depression and menopause can help you know better how to treat and manage it. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable medical team to help you identify the source of your depression so you can take steps to manage it. Your medical team may include your gynecologist, internist, and at least one mental health professional who can help you identify and treat physical issues, as well as learn to understand and cope with your condition. Leaving depression untreated can allow symptoms to worsen, so be sure your medical team is made up of individuals with which you feel comfortable and safe.

Reasons for Depression during Menopause

1. Changes in estrogen levels can affect your moods. Estrogen interacts with mood chemicals in your brain, helping with mood enhancement. So if your estrogen levels drop or change erratically, such as during menopause, your moods can also change. Without enough estrogen, your serotonin and endorphin levels may drop, leaving you feel sad and blue.

2. Common menopause symptoms can lead to depression. Though initially you may be able cope with hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings, the initial minor annoyance they cause can build. As time goes by, you may find it harder to manage, especially if they affect your ability to rest over a long period of time. Without adequate rest and sleep, your symptoms can intensify and leave you unhappy and depressed.

3. Menopause’s general affects can lead to depression. All the changes and symptoms that go along with menopause can leave you feeling unhappy about yourself. When your self-esteem takes a hit, you may find yourself feeling discontent and depressed. You can proactively treat common menopause symptoms so they don’t take a bigger toll on your mental and emotional health. It’s also important to engage in activities which keep you interested in life and those around you. Taking care of your appearance and overall health so you look and feel good can also help you feel better about yourself.

4. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may help during perimenopause but not after menopause. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can replace the estrogen your body is no longer producing. With adequate estrogen, you may be able to prevent many of the issues which can contribute to depression during menopause. HRT can ease hot flashes, sleep issues, body aches, and other symptoms which can lead to depression during menopause. If you have severe depression, however, you may need additional medications. In addition, women who are depressed and beyond menopause may respond better to antidepressants rather than HRT.

5. If you have a history of depression, you can be at greater risk for it during menopause. If you have dealt with episodes of depression, you can be more at risk for experiencing depression during menopause. Prior depression related to your cycle, such as with PMS, PMDD, or childbirth, can also increase your risk for depression during menopause. If you have a history of depression, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor prior to menopause so you both can watch for the earliest signs which might indicate depression is back.

6. Exercise and diet can help. Many women find that around the time of menopause, they are less active and aren’t as diligent about their diets. Lack of exercise and poor diet can contribute to unhappiness and negative feelings about yourself. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are important for mental health and contribute to the production of mood enhancing chemicals in your brain.

There's no shame in experiencing symptoms of depression, so talk to your doctor about them as soon as possible. There's hope and help for you.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

11-17-2015 - 12:18 AM


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