Early menopause linked to later depression
New study asks: Is there a connection between your age at menopause and later depression?
A just-published review of medical literature suggests that older age at menopause is associated with a lower risk of depression for women in later life.
Eleni Th Petridou, of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece and coauthors included 14 studies representing nearly 68,000 women.
A major finding was that the risk of depression declined by 2% for every 2 premenopausal years after age 40 - women who had menopause after age 40 experienced a 50% decrease in the risk of depression, compared with women who experienced premature menopause.
Oestrogen has neuroprotective properties
Older age at menopause and a longer reproductive period mean a longer exposure to endogenous oestrogens – which can mediate the pathophysiology of later life depression.
Oestrogen is known to have neuroprotective and antidepressive properties, and the brain is richly endowed with estrogen receptors, but the exact pathway of protection against depression remains unknown, the authors point out.
This study would suggest a potentially protective effect of increasing the length of a woman’s oestrogen exposure.
If confirmed by further studies, these findings could allow for the identification of a group of women at higher risk for depression who may benefit from psychiatric monitoring or oestrogen-based therapies," the authors conclude.
This research was published in the Journal of JAMA Psychiatry 2016.
Is Menopause making you depressed?
Eileen Durward, In-house Menopause Expert at A Vogel UK has some advice if you are concerned about low mood and feeling depressed.
Women going through the menopause are four times more likely to suffer from depression than women who are younger than 45. The hormonal shifts – declining levels of oestrogen and progesterone – can cause symptoms from low mood to loss of interest in life, mood swings to depression. Depression should not be mistaken for anxiety or occasional bouts of sadness, low moods or mood swings, as it is a mental disorder which can lead to further complications and requires the attention of doctors.
It is important to identify the condition correctly, as the term is often used lightly. For example, one might say “I’m feeling really depressed,” when actually what you are experiencing is passing misery about a specific issue such as coming back from holiday, having to visit relatives you don’t like, rather than real depression.
Depression is the feeling of extreme sadness lasting for more than two weeks, often with no specific cause that can be identified, and which interferes with everyday life. Depression can be accompanied by suicidal thoughts. If you are continually feeling worthless and are having changes in your sleeping and eating patterns, these may also be indicators of depression.
If you think that you are suffering from low moods or mood swings due to the menopause, visit a Vogel’s menopause hub to find out more http://www.avogel.co.uk/health/menopause/symptoms/depression/