Perimenopause may trigger the first episode of depression.

Perimenopause may trigger the first episode of depression.  Women in their late 40s are often in this hormonal stage called “perimenopause.” This is when the body may still have a menstrual period, but that the menstrual cycles are irregular because their estrogen is waning.  Perimenopause can cause nearly a decade of hormonal instability.

Women are at increased risk of developing depression during this perimenopausal transition.  In fact, studies have shown that 45 – 68% of perimenopausal women have elevated depression symptoms.

Other risk factors that increase the risk of perimenopausal depression include

  • psychosocial changes like adverse life events,
  • anxiety,
  • low social support,
  • interrupted sleep,
  • black race, and
  • financial difficulties.

Perimenopause is often a time of great transition: caring for aging parents, launching their adult children into life, or facing changes in marital status.  Your physician may perform a Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) to help diagnose a mood disorder or may perform a test to show life scales with mood items like the Menopause Rating Scale and the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Scale.

Some suggestions are psychotherapy, exercise, medication to help with mood changes (like SSRIs).  Botanical and or complementary/alternative approaches for treating menopausal depression have not statistically been shown to help.  Whatever treatment works for you is the best treatment.  See your physician for help.





About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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