Menopause and Depression: Causes and Facts

Menopause and Depression: Causes and Facts |

Some women find the transition to menopause very challenging. Fast hormone changes may affect the brain’s neurotransmitters. The decrease in estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can result in hot flashes, that make it really difficult to sleep.

But can menopause cause depression? In short, yes. Hot flashes can easily lead to anxiety, mood swings, and depression.

It is no surprise that depression has been actively linked to menopause. Numerous studies proved this fact. For example, in the 70s’, more than 500 women in their 40-55 years have been studied and reported to have minor psychiatric disorders, and evidence of their lasting effect during post-menopause. Some studies also proved that depressive motives appear on the basis of physical health or stressors rather than menopause. The perimenopause stage is linked to a slight increase in depression. But, it is for sure that 40-55 ages represent a high vulnerability for mental and psychiatric problems. 

Stress, poor health, surgical interventions are the same associated with depressive symptoms during menopause. In particular, women report marital concerns, smoking, and even levels of educational attainment causes. 

Note, as far as such symptoms can be worsened with time, it is crucial to speak to a physician. There is a high risk of being diagnosed with MDD. 

Menopause Depression Symptoms

Women who are on this stage of their life won’t only experience depression as a stand-alone problem but it is always accompanied by more severe manifestations. For example, everything may start with simple irritability that will bother not only you but your family members. Secondly, imbalanced sleeping will prevent you from boosting energy for the day, and work can provoke hate and misunderstanding of colleagues or even job responsibilities. If at a younger age such a symptom can be at least efficiently alleviated, with age it is getting harder and harder to adjust to a healthy lifestyle. And, it is explained by a woman’s perception of the problem. It is quite a popular event in patients that may not understand the severity of depression, and they think everything is okay. That’s why a prolific consultation with a doctor or psychiatrist is a must to destroy mental blocks that do not allow her to understand she feels bad.

People who experience depression during menopause usually have the following symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of energy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Suicidality
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased pleasure in regular activities
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Inability to make decisions

The above-mentioned list is not complete. Different women can have their specific transitional symptoms. For instance, it concerns such a common symptom of decreased libido. At first, a woman does not show a willingness to proceed with sexual intercourse. Then, she won’t find a partner sexually attracted. Then, it may be caused by apathy. And, if this symptom is combined with vaginal dryness, there is a simple desire to stop having sexual life because it causes pain or discomfort. That’s why depression can greatly affect the relationship and marital status. In such a case, a physician may recommend family therapy where partners or spouses speak about concerns and understand each other without arguments or continuous debates.

Finally, depression may cause misunderstanding with children. As a result, they no longer want to listen to their mother, and they take everything carelessly. Because excessive apathy or irritability may lead to conflicts that are hard to resolve again without the help of dedicated experts.

Depression Menopause Causes

I’ve already mentioned that hormone changes can really affect your mental and physical health. However, that is just one of many things that has an impact on your mood. All of the listed below factors can also make a depression in menopause a lot more likely:

  • Negative thoughts of menopause
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Lack of support
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Smoking
  • Pre-menopause diagnosis of depression

Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You With Depression And Menopause

Menopause depression is handled in much the same way as depression that occurs at any other time. Your healthcare provider may recommend changes in your lifestyle, drugs, therapy or all of that at the same time.

It is also necessary to rule out all physical reasons for your symptoms, such as thyroid problems, before attributing your depression to menopause.

Once the diagnosis is made, your doctor may propose a change to your lifestyle to see whether it has a positive effect on your mood.

Get the Needed Rest

The majority of women have sleep problems during menopause. Thus, your doctor may advise you to sleep more at night. Try going to bed at the same time every day and waking up at the same time as well. You should try making your room quiet and cool during your sleep to get the best rest possible. The best solution to have a thermostat at home that can adjust the temperature needed for tranquility. Besides, you should not sleep in tight pajamas because your sleep will cause discomfort. Make sure to be hydrated before the sleep, otherwise, the excessive dryness in your mouth will cause additional problems to an organism, and lip wounds.

Give Up Smoking

Studies have shown that women who smoke during menopause are more likely to develop depression in contrast to non-smokers. You could always ask for assistance if you need help quitting smoking. Besides, it is a proven fact that smoking leads to a faster onset of pre-menopause and depression. Note, there is no high need to quitting it at once. Doctors confirm that everything should undergo gradually. Just reduce the number of cigarettes step by step. And, the most important, at first instance, it is necessary to distract on something else when you have a desire to smoke. But, of course, it should be a good habit.

Get Enough Physical Activity

Regular workouts can help alleviate stress and improve your mood and energy. Try practicing for a total of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. As per experts, it is strictly prohibited to go for excessive exercises, they will only affect the onset of osteoporosis, and your bones won’t be able to perform simple walking. The best choices for menopausal women are aerobics, bicycling, and swimming. The latter option positively affects the peace of mind and helps to moderate additional symptoms in the form of hot flashes and sleeping disorders.

Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Yoga, meditation, different types of massage- all of that can help you relieve stress. In addition, your sleep will improve significantly. Besides, find the time to spend on the fresh air. Your brain and mind should relax all the time. Whenever you feel the conflict is inevitable or you cannot resist burst out crying, grab a bottle of water and go to the street for a walk. If you have pets, it is good anti-stress therapy. 

Effective Antidepressant Medication

If lifestyle changes don’t help you at all, your healthcare provider will most likely recommend you talk therapy or antidepressants. Hormone replacement therapy may be an option as well, but even though it can boost your mood, it isn’t effective against depression. Otherwise, your physician may prescribe some health natural supplements that won’t help get rid of this health condition but will at least reduce the number of those present together with it. Note, do not buy and take them on your own. Menopause and depression anxiety may only get worse if some of them even natural ingredients presented in the supplement are contraindicated for you. Ask a doctor to recommend some sedative teas or powders.

Talk Therapy

Depression after menopause can prevent you from talking to your friends or family. If that’s the case, you should speak to a professional therapist who can help you deal with your problems. In particular, it concerns psychiatrists who can even invite your beloved ones for family therapy. The main purpose is to not retire into your shell. If you spend all day long being on your own, it won’t moderate the symptoms but only lead to complete apathy or paranoia. And, keep in your mind, that a family is worried about you, so any such intentions to ignore them may also worsen the relationship.

Antidepressant Medication

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the best antidepressant for menopause depression. That’s because every case is different, so your doctor is the only one who can choose the right medication. Beware of commercially popular antidepressants reviewed and promoted online. You cannot prescribe them at sole discretion. Such inhibitors are strong enough to damage your brain or alter your emotional state. Trust your physician and do not go for folk medicine never without his previously received consent.

Finally, women who are in their menopause, either peri- or post ones should always monitor their emotion levels. It is very common to help slight symptoms being lifted up to major depressive disorders. It is dangerous and may change one’s life forever. Try to follow a healthy lifestyle in advance, reduce or quit smoking, exercise, eat natural and nutritive foods. Only you are a doctor to your health at an early age. And, how you live in 20-30 will dictate how you will feel later on. Menopause is not the end of the world, and depressive symptoms can be treated efficiently with your care to yourself.


How do hormone shifts cause depression in menopause?

The fluctuations in hormone levels alter vital body functions that previously were active and provided women with stability and peace of mind. With their reduction, a woman experiences new symptoms which may frustrate and provoke depression.

How to treat menopause depression naturally?

Follow a healthy lifestyle and visit a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help you understand the core of a problem.

Do I need to visit a doctor to treat depression in menopause?

Yes, it is a serious problem that can be treated only by dedicate experts.

At what age can I feel menopausal depression? 

The first signs can be noticed even in perimenopause, 35-40 years.

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Menopause and Depression: Causes and Facts
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by Isabella on

Good day! I followed your advice for several months and you know, there is a result and it is positive. I feel much better! Thanks you!


Emma J. Johnson

Menopause consultant and sex therapist, media personality, author, woman health expert.

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