Little Girl Blue

Posted by on Apr 26, 2010 in depression | 0 comments


Depression in the perimenopause and postmenopausal years is no joke. I’ve written about it several times on this blog and will continue to do so until experts figure out an effective, acceptable strategy for combating the blues.

As I’ve noted before, researchers are not quite sure of the exact reasons for the depression surge during the transition,  (e.g. dramatic surge and declines in hormones, vasomotor issues, sleep issues, life stress and prior history). However, they do acknowledge that many women tend to suffer the blues during this time.

In the latest bit of research, published in the online edition of the journal Menopause, researchers found that over 40% of women studied (out of a pool of 685) suffered from symptoms of depression. What was more interesting, however, is that depression was almost twice as likely to develop in the peri/post menopausal stages than before menopause. (Note that other studies have found this likelihood to be as high as 4 times during the perimenopause). Moreover:

  • Women who reported having had experienced some sort of negative event in their were 3.6 times likelier than those who hadn’t to develop depression
  • Weight appeared to play a role, with obese women twice as likely as those of normal weight to develop depressive symptoms

Although I’ve discussed some potentially effective strategies for combatting the menopausal blues (e.g., exercise, chamomile, antidepressants, red clover, St. John’s Wort, soy isoflavones), none are a quick fix or a ‘one size fits all.’

Personally, I’ve noticed that fluctuating hormones coupled with elevated stress tends to heighten depression at specific times, while at other times, it’s easier to deal with. Pile it on and well, I become a pile of mush. My strategy entails an insane amount of physical activity, deep breathing, therapy and admittedly, some medication. Still, I’ve found that while I can usually keep the blues at bay, they do tend to crop up at the most inopportune moments.

What do you do to chase the blues away? Have they gotten worse or stayed the same during your transition? What advice do you have to offer for other readers? I’d love to hear!

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