In Brief: Depression at menopause
Depression at menopause
Two new studies find that the transition to menopause is linked to depression and imply that the depression is at least partly the result of hormonal changes.
In one study, 231 Philadelphia women, ages 35–47, were followed for eight years. All were premenopausal (had regular menstrual cycles) and none had ever been clinically depressed. During the study, 43% went into the menopausal transition, also called perimenopause: They began to have skipped and irregular periods and changes in menstrual blood flow. Women were four times more likely to report a high number of depressive symptoms during perimenopause than before, and twice as likely to develop clinical depression.