Though the reasons are unclear, women are at higher risk for depression during their midlife years and menopause is believed to be a contributing factor. Some studies suggest that the cause is the decrease in levels of estrogen that accompany menopause.
What Are the Symptoms of Menopausal Depression?
The symptoms of menopause depression are fatigue, low energy, reduced ability to focus and concentrate, irritability, insomnia or a change in sleep patterns, decreased libido, weight change, headaches, stomachaches, and chronic pain. There is no singular reason for menopause depression, but it does coincide with physical changes in a female’s body. The stress of these changes, along with physical symptoms during the change, can result in a variety of conditions that contribute to depression. These conditions include relationship problems, problems with children, difficulty maintaining a stressful schedule, and the threat of a divorce. Woman experiencing menopausal depression should consult a medical professional.
How Is Menopausal Depression Treated?
Menopause depression is treated a variety of ways, and some woman respond differently to different forms of treatment. The most common treatment uses antidepressant medication, such as Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, or Zoloft. Natural methods are also used, such as herbal remedies like St. John’s Wart. Physical activity and exercise can play a very positive role for perimenopausal and menopausal woman. An increased exposure to sunlight can contribute to feelings of well-being. Sometimes doctors will use a combination of these treatments depending on the patient. For this reason, it is important those experiencing menopausal depression are evaluated by a qualified medical professional.
“Depression During Menopause.” U-M Depression Toolkit: Your Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2011. http://www.depressiontoolkit.org/women/menopause.asp.
“Menopause and Depression – WebMD.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 July 2011. http://www.webmd.com/menopause/news/20060403/nearing-menopause-depression-risk.