Menopause and depression are very treatable. Almost every woman has felt sad or depressed at some point in their life, and the time around menopause is no different. But how do we know when to seek professional advice?
First and foremost, depression, no matter how mild you think it is, must never be ignored. It is serious, can be life threatening, and should always be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Even if your symptoms are not severe or are short-lived, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to educate yourself and research all the available treatment options for depression during menopause.
Many women do not realize that lifestyle, stress and even hormones can play a large role in their feelings of sadness, anxiety or mood swings. We all experience some level of stress in our daily lives, and usually handle it quite well. But when stress becomes constant or chronic, it can overwhelm us. A stressful job, raising our children, nurturing a relationship with our significant other, caring for aging parents, economic stressors, trying to do it all and be all things to everyone can take its toll.
Lifestyle contributes significantly to symptoms of menopause and depression. We do not have time to fulfill our obligations to everyone else, let alone ourselves, so we are usually last, or not even on, our list. This can contribute to stress, weight gain, health problems, all of which can be exacerbated by menopause symptoms.
Here are just a few of the treatment options which will get you back on an even keel, enjoying your life, family, health and happiness once again:
Your healthcare practitioner may suggest hormone therapy, which is widely used for short-term treatment of hot flashes and night sweats, and has been shown to relieve depression symptoms experienced during perimenopause and menopause.
Treatment with antidepressants or other prescription medications may also be a good choice for your particular situation. Again, only you and your healthcare provider can decide which treatment is best for you.
Lifestyle changes seem to provide the most benefit, especially in women with very mild symptoms. If you are a smoker, speak to your healthcare provider about a plan for quitting or, at the very least, try to cut down as much as possible. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and keeping the stress in your life to a minimum is great advice at any stage of life.
The good news is that for most women with no prior history of depression, the symptoms experienced with menopause and depression are usually short-lived. But that does not mean you have to "tough it out," and you should not. The treatments available really do help most women and you should talk to your healthcare provider about the treatment options for you and your unique situation.