October 17, 2017

Menopause and Depression – A Not So Hot Combination

There’s good news and bad news that go along with menopause. The good news is that it’s a normal part of life – once you are in it you don’t have to deal with having your period anymore. The bad news is that along with menopause and perimenopause (the 8 to 10 years of time before menopause officially starts) comes living with hormonal changes to your body. These changes cause certain unwanted conditions to develop. Some common conditions that many women face during menopause include depression, hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain to name just a few.

The Link between Menopause and Depression

During perimenopause the body reduces the level of estrogen it produces. Menopause officially starts when the body quits releasing eggs. This lack of estrogen causes the woman to go through both physical, mental and emotional changes. Women are more likely to go through this between the ages of 40-60 but some women may have it earlier due to what is called induced menopause. Surgically induced menopause occurs when a woman’s uterus is removed.

Although menopause is most widely associated with women, some medical experts believe that some men may experience it as well and the cause is related to the drop in their levels of testoterone as they age.

Some of the main perimenopause symptoms include but aren’t limited to:

 

  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Memory Problems

Some of the most common menopause symptoms include not only the symptoms of perimenopause but also:

 

  • Hot flashes and/or night sweats
  • Depression
  • Sleep issues that could manifest themselves as insomnia, too much sleep or lack of feeling rested even after a night of sleep
  • Back pain
  • Weight Gain
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Dry vagina
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis

Just as each individual woman is different so are the personal symptoms she experiences as well as the severity of each. Some women have a rough time with some symptoms and have an easy time with others. It all depends on the individual.

Menopause and Depression

If a woman – or man – is at the age for menopause and other depression causes can be ruled out such as loss of a loved one, prescription medication, mood disorders (like bipolar or manic-depressive disorders), medical conditions such as issues with thyroid health, and life changes that bring about a great deal of stress and anxiety, then it’s likely that the depression and sadness experienced is related to menopause.

Those who suffer from depression during menopause often see at least one or more of the following depression symptoms:

 

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness, low mood, or despair that last over two weeks
  • Sleep issues – insomnia, lack of sleep, or feeling the need to sleep more than normal
  • Change in eating habits
  • Lack of interest in activities normally engaged in

Depression should be taken very seriously. If left untreated, it is able to grow into major depression with thoughts of suicide.

Treatment for Menopause Depression

There is help for those who suffer from depression related to menopause. The two most common treatments are:

Anti-Depressants

Anti-depressants can not only help alleviate a lot of the day to day feelings of despair brought about by menopause and depression, it can also help increase energy levels. Plus, these can also reduce hot flashes and their severity.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone therapy is a popular option during menopause to help treat hot flashes, mood swings and decrease the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Basically how it works is that it helps to add back the estrogen and progestin in the body that is lost during menopause.

Although it can be effective there are a major risks associated with hormone replacement therapy so it should not be entered into lightly. Risks have been found to include increased breast cancer, heart disease and stroke risk to name just a few.

Some experts believe that certain options such as anti-depressants should be used prior to hormone replacement therapy with hormone therapy being saved for a last resort since the risks of using hormones are so high.

Whether to have hormone therapy is one of the most controversial topics in women’s health. Contact your medical care provider or doctor, he or she can help you learn more about the risks of hormone replacement therapy and help you decide whether it is right for you.

Thyroid Health

It should be noted that menopause can cause changes in the thyroid. There are simple screening tests for women and men that can be run by a doctor or health care provider to see if adrenal health thyroid support is required. Sometimes that can help to reduce the affects of menopause including depression.

Natural Cures

For some women a natural approach can provide relief from symptoms of menopause depression. For more information, please visit this site.

 

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Can Menopause Cause Depression?