Does menopause cause depression in women?

Does onset of menopause cause mood swings and temperament challenges in women? Janice

Does onset of menopause cause mood swings and temperament challenges in women? Janice

Dear Janice,

 

Menopause is a time when menstrual cycles stop in a woman. It occurs due to declining levels of estrogen. Estrogen also influences release of serotonin a neurotransmitter which is responsible for feeling of well being. Hence with declining levels of estrogen, a lady can also have mood swings. As the menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman, similarly mood changes also vary among individuals during menopause. A few women may remain unaffected, whereas some have severe depression, disturbing their routine lives. In between there are women who suffer from mild depression, mood swings, irritability or become very sensitive emotionally.

 

At this age, requirement of nutrients like calcium and iron is increased. If this is not fulfilled, the affected woman can suffer from chronic anemia and softening of bones. Excess bleeding around menopause also contributes to the anemia. This manifests as feeling of fatigue, breathlessness, muscle cramps, body ache and malaise. Softening of bones causes joint pain. Due to these physical problems, the affected woman does not feel as fresh and healthy as before and feels depressed. Hot flushes and sleep disturbances occurring during menopause also add to irritability and mood swings.

 

Menopause occurs in middle years of life, around 50 years or so. At this stage of life, children of married women are usually grown up and independent. Thus now she has free time on her hands, whereas before she used to remain very busy, caring for the children. Husbands also now middle age or old are not so romantically inclined and usually do not pamper their wives as before. Fading glow of the face, wrinkling, make her feel insecure. All these factors add up and cause a menopausal woman to suffer from depression and emotional changes.

Receiving Counseling regarding menopause and accepting it helps a lady to overcome menopausal mood swings.

Eating whole grains, peas, beans and nuts helps to improve serotonin levels and mood as well. Excess use of coffee, tea, white sugar and alcohol can aggravate the problem. Taking supplements of iron and calcium can help in keeping a woman healthy around this time. Hormone replacement therapy(HRT) was very popular about 2 decades ago to treat menopausal problems. But later on considering the health risks of estrogen like heart problems, risk of clotting e.t.c., it is not used routinely. The benefits versus risks are considered before giving HRT to any woman.

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