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How Menopause Affects Mental Health: The Link to Depression

Menopause and depression
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Dr. Bradley Noon



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The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more

Menopause usually marks the end of reproductive years for women. During this period, a woman’s body undergoes hormonal changes that cause diverse symptoms, like hot flashes, chills, night sweats, and dry skin, among others. It also may cause psychological issues, such as mood swings and even depression.

This article explores the link between menopause and depression and provides tips on managing the condition.

Depression may manifest itself through different symptoms. See a doctor online if you have such concerns.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation, marking the end of a woman’s reproductive life. It usually occurs in women aged 45 to 55, although it can manifest earlier or later. Menopause often begins when the ovaries start producing less estrogen, the hormone that regulates menstruation and supports a pregnancy.

Women usually start experiencing different physical and emotional symptoms due to declining estrogen levels. Although menopause is a natural process, it can be challenging for some women, especially those experiencing severe symptoms.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that reveals itself through persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness. While depression can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, women are twice as likely as men to experience depression [1*] . Different factors can trigger this disorder, including stress, trauma, hormonal imbalances, and genetics.

Depression normally affects a person’s quality of life and ability to function optimally. Similarly, this condition can bring about other notable health problems like anxiety, sleep disorders, and substance abuse. Seeking professional help for anyone suffering from depression can be highly beneficial.

Severe depression may significantly disrupt day-to-day routines. Avoid such outcomes by consulting a mental health professional.

Can Menopause Cause Depression?

The link between depression and menopause is quite complex. However, researchers believe hormonal changes during menopause [2*] can contribute to depression development in some women. Estrogen plays a critical role in regulating mood, and declining levels of this hormone can impair brain chemistry and cause mood disturbances.

During menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen, leading to diverse physical and emotional symptoms. Some women experience hot flashes and night sweats, which disrupt sleep and cause fatigue. These symptoms can also trigger feelings of anxiety, irritability, and sadness, leading to depression.

Besides hormonal changes, menopause can cause significant life changes that can contribute to depression. Some women experience marked changes in their family dynamics, like marital problems, caring for aging parents, or children leaving home. Such changes can be overwhelming and stressful, triggering depression.

Women with a history of depression or other mental health conditions also stand a higher risk of developing menopause depression. Also, women who experience early menopause (before 45) or surgical menopause (removal of both ovaries) are more likely to develop this disorder.

Perimenopause Depression

Perimenopause [3*] is the transitional period before menopause as a woman’s body starts experiencing hormonal changes that cause different physical and emotional symptoms. During this period, women may experience fluctuations in hormone levels, causing mood swings, irritability, and depression.

The hormonal changes occurring during this time contribute to the likelihood of perimenopause depression. A decline in estrogen levels impacts the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, causing mood disturbances. Stress, lifestyle changes, and sleep disturbances can also contribute to depression.

Women experiencing perimenopause and depression usually experience sadness, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, fatigue, and irritability.

Get a personalized depression treatment plan based on your symptoms and the specific challenges you face because of them.

Managing Depression During Menopause

Medical and non-medical interventions can help manage depression effectively during menopause. Here are some ways to manage depression in menopause.

Hormone Therapy

This treatment mode usually involves taking estrogen or progesterone to relieve menopausal symptoms. Hormone therapy is also ideal for improving mood or reducing depression risk in some women. However, the treatment is unsuitable for some women due to the increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and blood clots.

Depression and menopause


Antidepressants are commonly used to treat depression as they help to regulate brain chemistry and improve mood.

Antidepressant medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can minimize depressive symptoms.

Lifestyle Changes

Embracing regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep can help manage menopause depression better. Exercising regularly increases the production of endorphins which are natural mood boosters. Doing moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes daily can yield desirable results. It is also useful to opt for stress reduction techniques like yoga or meditation.

Self-help remedies are not always effective. Get expert recommendations at MEDvidi.

Counseling or Therapy

Therapy provides a safe and supportive space to explore emotions and develop coping strategies to manage depression symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is especially effective in treating depression as it helps identify and change negative thought patterns.

Alternative Therapies

Natural remedies like acupuncture or herbal supplements can also offer relief. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. Individuals could also use herbal supplements like black cohosh to reduce depressive symptoms. However, consultation with a doctor is required before starting any supplements, especially if a person is taking antidepressants as well.

Know When to Seek Help

Menopause can be a difficult experience as hormonal changes can cause various physical and emotional symptoms, including depression. If you are experiencing depression symptoms during perimenopause and it significantly affects your well-being, consider seeking help from a healthcare professional. At MEDvidi, our doctors are ready to establish a personalized treatment plan to address your needs and concerns. With the right treatment and support, you can manage depression during menopause and better your overall quality of life.


3 sources
  1. Why is depression more prevalent in women? (2015)
    Source link
  2. Depression or Menopause? Presentation and Management of Major Depressive Disorder in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women. (2010)
    Source link
  3. Perimenopause: From Research to Practice. (2016)
    Source link
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Dr. Bradley Noon



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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.