Menopause and the period leading up to it are frequently accompanied by conditions varying in intensity among women. In a recent study, researchers emphasize the importance of not underestimating the risk of developing depression and uncover the factors likely to favor its occurrence.

Hot flashes, fatigue, sleep disturbances ... are among the many symptoms of menopause which gradually sets in after a pivotal period, perimenopause. These are due to hormonal deficiency of estrogen and progesterone. Women in transition to menopause may be prone to well-known "climacteric" conditions like headache, insomnia and irritability, according to a study by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and published in the journal Menopause but also to more pronounced psychiatric disorders such as memory and concentration disorders, anxiety and depression.

The study specifies that the depression appearing during the menopause can affect up to 70% of the women concerned and confirms not only its high prevalence but also its main risk factors in the women concerned. A total of 485 postmenopausal women aged 35 to 78 participated so that researchers could determine the frequency of depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women, as risk factors may increase their level of anxiety and their degree of feelings about it. concerns the specific subject of fear of death. They then assessed the relationship between all of these variables and the risk of postmenopausal depression.

"High prevalence of depressive symptoms"

The results showed that depression in postmenopausal women is a common health problem since in this study, 41% of participants were confirmed to be suffering from some form of depression. A rate that could also turn out to be lower than those revealed in previous studies given the slightly lower age of the participants (56.3 years on average). In addition, the researchers identified the risk factors that most affect the risk of developing depression during menopause. These include being widowed or separated from your spouse, being addicted to alcohol and suffering from a pathology requiring continuous medication.

Other aggravating factors also include suffering from a physical disability or mental illness. The researchers could not confirm any relationship between depression and fear of death, but the average age of the participants may have influenced this lack of association. "These results are consistent with existing literature and highlight the high prevalence of depressive symptoms in older women, especially those with a history of depression or anxiety, chronic health conditions and psychosocial factors such as only major stressful life events, ”said Professor Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

The scientific team concludes that women and the health professionals who care for them should be aware that the transition from menopause is not only a period of hormonal fluctuations when the first hot flashes and night sweats can occur. : it is also a period of vulnerability in terms of mood. Note that Health Insurance recommends postmenopausal women to be regularly followed, at least once a year, by their attending physician or gynecologist, to practice a clinical and gynecological examination, and in particular a blood test and blood pressure measurement blood pressure, weight and height.