Low mood due to the menopause is a very common symptom, but is often not recognised as being due to hormonal changes arising from the perimenopause and menopause.
As the production of ovarian hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) declines, this has many effects all over the body. In particular the effects it has upon the brain can be hugely significant.
Oestrogen is vital for brain function and an area of the brain called the limbic system requires oestrogen to function properly. The limbic system has many functions, but it is important in its role in mood, anxiety, memory, and libido.
Low mood due to hormonal changes is not the same as clinical depression for many women but is often characterised by a low flat mood and described as a ‘loss of joy’ and ‘interest in life’. This is often associated with a loss of motivation and fatigue. Anxiety is also a common symptom of the perimenopause/menopause. Replacing a woman’s hormones with HRT can treat this low mood effectively in some women.
NICE menopause guidelines state that HRT should be considered as a treatment for low mood that arises because of the menopause. NICE also states that due to lack of evidence antidepressants are not recommended to treat low mood in menopausal women who have not been diagnosed with clinical depression. It is important to note that those women who do have clinical depression can however be treated with antidepressants which can be safely used alongside HRT.
Despite this guidance a recent study showed that 66% of women were prescribed antidepressants for their menopausal symptoms.
There is increasing evidence that testosterone replacement helps improve mood, sleep, memory, concentration fatigue and libido and can often really transform women’s mood when added into the HRT regime.
It is also very important to address lifestyle changes to help improve symptoms, the following should be considered:
There are a variety of Complimentary Therapies available to help reduce low mood, these can include:
Check out these useful websites for further information