Hormone Replacement Therapy May Ease Menopausal Depression
Menopause – the hormone decline that occurs at the end of a woman’s reproductive years – has long been known to cause mental and psychological symptoms. Brand fog, concentration problems, and memory issues are common among perimenopausal and menopausal women. Less common, but much more serious, is the onset or worsening of depression during menopause.
However, a recent clinical research study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry showed that undergoing a year of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) cut the risk of depression symptoms in women going through menopause and early post-menopause.
In this article the hormone replacement therapy experts at SottoPelle® explain the results of this study and discuss how HRT may be able to help women reduce the likelihood of developing or worsening depression during or after menopause.
What is Depression?
The Mayo Clinic defines depression as a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, as well as loss of interest in normal activities that interferes with daily life.
Depression can range from mild to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. Depression is not the same as temporary episodes of sadness – such as the depression caused by the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or end of a relationship.
Recent studies have shown that the hormone decline of menopause can worsen symptoms of depression in women with a preexisting history, as well as cause the onset of depression in woman with no prior history of depression. According to Jennifer Payne, director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University, women with a previous diagnosis of major depression or anxiety disorder are going to be at a greater risk of depression during perimenopause.
A significant number of women – about 18% in early perimenopause and 38% in late perimenopause – will experience symptoms of depression.1
Clinical Study on Hormone Replacement Therapy & Menopausal Depression
Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry2 conducted by Susan Girdler, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill HRT was shown to reduce the risk of menopause during depression.
That study recruited 172 women between the ages of 45 and 60 who were either perimenopausal or recently postmenopausal at the start of the study. One group of women was given an inactive placebo patch to wear, while the other group were given skin patches that delivered 0.1 milligrams/day of estrogen. (Additionally, every three months, the estrogen patch group were also given 12 days of progesterone to protect against the risk of endometrial cancer.)
After receiving hormone replacement therapy for a year, 32% of perimenopausal women treated with a placebo experienced clinically significant depressive symptoms. However, the women in the study treated with hormone replacement therapy experienced half that rate of serious symptoms of depression (only 17%).
Researchers also found that there were two main factors that predicted whether women would experience fewer depression symptoms while on hormone replacement therapy: (1.) being in perimenopause; and (2.) experiencing a significant stress in life, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce.
The study concluded that when the benefits of hormone replacement therapy outweigh the risks, women should be on the lowest dose for the shortest time. The researchers also said that the study “raises some very interesting questions, but that it needs to be replicated in a larger, more diverse group of people.” And, the researchers urged that women going through menopause who are experiencing depressive symptoms should get a depression assessment as soon as possible.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Depression During Menopause
The recommendations of the Center for Women’s Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital for major depression that occurs in association with menopause are the prescription of antidepressant medication, in combination with hormone replacement therapy (usually estrogen plus progesterone, or occasionally estrogen alone).3
This combination of an antidepressant medication PLUS hormones replacement therapy is advised by the Women’s Mental Health Center, whether or not the woman has had depression in the past.
SottoPelle® Method 100% natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy method can help restore a woman’s body and mind to optimal balance during perimenopause and menopause. And hormone replacement therapy pellets offer several advantages, including NO daily pills, NO painful weekly shots, and NO messy creams.
Additionally, SottoPelle® pellet therapy utilizes bioidentical hormones that are safer, more effective, and more natural than lab-created synthetics. Because bioidentical hormones are identical to the body’s own hormones, they offer more effective results, with fewer side-effects and risks.
SottoPelle® Method Hormone Replacement Therapy for Depression
If you are a woman who is experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, talk to your physician about SottoPelle® Method hormone replacement therapy today. Or you can also find a physician in your area who is a Certified SottoPelle® hormone therapy provider using our Physician Finder HERE.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: (323) 986-5100
1 As Menopause Nears, Be Aware It Can Trigger Depression and Anxiety, too; NPR.com. January 16, 2020.
2 Transdermal estradiol shows promise in treating and preventing perimenopausal depression; JAMA Psychiatry, online. Susan Girdler, Ph.D., Hadine Joffe, M.D., et. Al.; Jan. 10, 2018.
3 Depression during the transition to menopause: A Guide for Patients and Families; The Center for Women’s Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. David A. Kahn, MD, Margaret L. Moline, et. al..
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as general information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. While the benefits of hormone replacement are well documented through clinical research, we are not representing that hormone therapy is a “cure” for any disease. Only your treating physician can determine if hormone replacement may be a beneficial part of your healthcare regimen, based on your age, overall health, risk factors, and lifestyle.