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Does Menopause Cause Depression and Irritability?

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Updated August 30, 2004

Question: Does Menopause Cause Depression and Irritability?
Answer: Many women in perimenopause and menopause feel depressed and irritable. Some researchers believe that the decrease in estrogen triggers changes in your brain, causing depression. Others think that other symptoms you're having, such as sleep problems, hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue cause these feelings. Or, it could be a combination of hormone changes and symptoms. But these symptoms also can have causes that are unrelated to menopause. If you are having these symptoms, and you think they are interfering with your quality of life, it is important to discuss them with your HCP. Talk openly with your HCP about the other things going on in your life that might be adding to your feelings. Other things that could cause depression and/or anxiety include:

  • having depression during your lifetime before menopause
  • feeling negative about menopause and getting older
  • increased stress
  • having severe menopause symptoms
  • smoking
  • not being physically active
  • not being happy in your relationship or not being in a relationship
  • not having a job
  • not having enough money
  • low self-esteem (how you feel about yourself)
  • not having the social support you need regretful that you can't have children anymore

If you need treatment for these symptoms, you and your HCP can work together to find a treatment that is best for you.

Reprinted from the NWHIC

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