The aging process is rarely easy at any stage. After all, as anyone who’s raised children knows all too well, the terrible twos and teen angst are VERY real. Just the same, approaching middle age affects different people in different ways. For women in particular, pre menopause and menopause itself can prompt a host of unexpected responses in the body, both emotional and physical. Hot flashes and crying are common, but depression symptoms, while admittedly not quite as prevalent, remain among the least understood of all.
Perimenopause And Depression
While menopause is a perfectly normal occurrence, feeling depressed is not – regardless of what age or how its symptoms manifest. Historically, the hormonal shifts associated with perimenopause are often blamed for many women “feeling blue” during this timespan. While hormone deficiency is responsible for the hot flashes and possibly the headaches many women experience, research has shown that it probably only plays a minor role in triggering depression symptoms, if at all.
Perimenopause Symptoms and Stages
Instead, studies indicate that struggling with depression during this stage of life may actually be more a reaction to the experience, itself. For instance, the night sweats and hot flashes that cause restless sleep, the resulting energy deficit, memory lapses, and the additional stress of having to deal with one more issue may simply be enough to overwhelm some women. In addition, though some mood swings are typical, studies show that women who’ve previously experienced premenstrual syndrome (PMS), clinical depression, or postpartum depression seem especially susceptible to more serious indicators during perimenopause.
Dealing With Depression Symptoms
While the hot flashes and memory issues will often disappear after finally reaching menopause, any signs of depression should be dealt with sooner rather than later. Hormone replacement therapy may help with some of the physical symptoms, but any feelings of acute sadness or hopelessness should be addressed and evaluated by a healthcare provider trained in women’s health or menopause.