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Menopause health centre

Feeling low or depressed during the menopause

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Some women going through the menopause say that they feel low or depressed. Others say they have mood swings. [27] [33]

Some women say they feel:

  • Irritable

  • Anxious

  • Less confident

  • Panicky

  • Forgetful

  • Unable to concentrate

  • Low in energy.

The changes many women go through at this time of life may also play a part in mood swings. You may feel less needed after your children have left home, or you may have to look after elderly parents. Things like this can make the changes that the menopause brings harder to deal with, especially if you are not sleeping well because of hot flushes or night sweats. Between one fifth and one third of menopausal women say they feel depressed. [33]

We don't know if these feelings are caused directly by the drop in levels of the hormone oestrogen that happens when you go through the menopause.

Some studies have found a link between the menopause and feeling depressed. But these studies tended to include women who went to the doctor for other reasons. So we can't be certain whether other problems made these women depressed. Different studies found no links between going through the menopause and feeling depressed.

It may be that if you have been depressed before or if you used to get premenstrual tension, you may be more likely to feel depressed at this time. [27] [1] However, most women go through the menopause without feeling depressed. [27]

Glossary

oestrogen

Oestrogen is the name given to three female sex hormones: oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol. Oestrogen causes women's sexual development during puberty: it is needed to develop breasts, have periods and get pregnant. Oestrogen is also thought to affect women's health in other ways. It may influence their mood, cholesterol levels and how their bones grow. Men have very low levels of oestrogen in their bodies, but doctors aren't completely sure what it does. Oestrogen is an important ingredient in most types of contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy.

For more terms related to Menopause

Citations

For references related to Menopause click here.
Last Updated: March 25, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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