Increase risk of depression linked with early menopause

By: Emily Lunardo | Health News | Thursday, January 07, 2016 - 10:30 AM

Sad woman with consoling friendsA recent review suggests that women who experience early menopause are at a higher risk of later-life depression. If additional research can confirm the results it may indicate that women who experience early menopause will require hormonal or psychiatric treatment once their periods stop.

The researchers analyzed 14 studies which included nearly 68,000 women. They found that women who experienced menopause prior to the age of 40 had a greater risk of later-life depression compared to those women who began menopause after the age of 40.

Dr. Eleni Th Petridou wrote that the findings suggest, “a potentially protective effect of increasing duration of exposure to [natural] estrogens as assessed by age at menopause, as well as by the duration of the reproductive period.”

“These findings could have a significant clinical effect by allowing for the identification of a group of women at higher risk for depression who may benefit from psychiatric monitoring or estrogen-based therapies,” the researchers concluded.

The findings were published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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