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  • Dr Priya Jha

The Onset of Depression during the perimenopausal period- warning signs and ameliorative strategies

MENOPAUSE: THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER


According to the data during perimenopause, 70% of women are easily irritated, 50% of females suffer from insomnia whereas 20% experience severe anxiety and depression. Pre-menopause, the phase that precedes menopause is characterized by mood swings as well as depressive symptoms, whereas menopause is medically defined as the absence of menstruation as a consequence of the ovary's inability to produce the hormones (estrogen and progesterone) requisite for monthly cycles. Menopause is mainly characterized by the loss of menstruation and fertility coupled with sleep difficulties. It typically occurs at age 50 for most women, however, perimenopause can begin as early as age 40. The primary indicator of menopause is the absence of menstruation for 12 months in a row (in the absence of other obvious causes). A lady can't become pregnant after this happens. It's a prevalent fallacy that as you approach menopause, you should accept that feeling gloomy is natural "BUT SERIOUS DEPRESSION SHOULDN'T BE IGNORED" Depression in women increases around reproductive events like childbirth, menstrual cycle disorders, and toward menopause, it becomes common in up to 30% females.


WARNING SIGNS OF PERIMENOPAUSAL DEPRESSION


•Exhaustion and low energy

•Feeling agitated or sluggish

•Has trouble concentrating and remembering things

•A lack of interest in past hobbies of yours.

•Feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless

•Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide


During perimenopause, lower levels of female hormones may result in additional depression symptoms like

•Mood swings

•Irritability

•Crying for no reason or feeling tearful often

•Feeling profound despair

•Night sweats and hot flashes-related issues with sleep


Clinical depression and premenopausal depression may manifest in distinct ways. For instance, premenopausal depression is associated with more irritation and more frequent mood swings, but less frequently with sadness and tears. Lower emotions, loss of appetite, and insomnia are a few symptoms of perimenopausal depression to watch for.


RISK FACTORS- Additional risk factors associated with perimenopausal depression include: •Family history of depression

•Prior history of sexual abuse or violence

•Having a sedentary lifestyle

•Smoking

•Being socially isolated

•Struggling with self-esteem

•Having negative feelings about aging and menopause

•Feeling disappointed about not being able to have children (or more children)


LINK BETWEEN DEPRESSION AND PREMENOPAUSAL PERIOD= Many women experiencing perimenopause or menopause will tell you that extreme changes in hormonal levels frequently result in feelings of depression. Whether it's a new onset of depression or exaggerated symptoms from an existing diagnosis, managing mood swings and other symptoms can feel overwhelming at times. Some of the difficulties in evaluating perimenopausal depression are that several of the symptoms related to hormonal changes overlap with depression and other menopausal symptoms that frequently present, such as insomnia, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood problems. Women's risk of developing depression is known to rise as they approach menopause.


STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING PERIMENOPAUSAL DEPRESSION


To improve menopausal mood, "healthy eating habits, smoking cessation, and increased physical activity may be beneficial."


• meditation and yoga

• Exclude other health conditions associated with mood swings (eg, hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders, anemia, autoimmune disease, drug addiction, dementia, or malignancy) Over-the-counter and prescription mood enhancers

• Hormone replacement therapy

• Other medications for insomnia, hot flashes, and sweating


Addressing perimenopausal or menopause-related depression often requires a systemic approach. Making lifestyle changes can greatly improve your quality of life. Daily exercise, socializing with friends and family, meditation, mindfulness, and participating in activities that you enjoyed before your depressive episode began are just a few ways to manage your symptoms of depression. Being open and honest with people can help ease the mood swings you experience during this time.

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