Depression Risk Lower After Final Menstrual Period in Menopausal Women

Risk of depression was lower in menopausal women after their final menstrual period (FMP) but a history of depression increased the risk of depressive symptoms both before and after menopause, according to a study by Ellen W. Freeman, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and colleagues.

An increased risk of depressive symptoms has been associated with a woman’s transition to menopause but depression in the years around menopause has not been well characterized, according to the study background.

Researchers examined depressive symptoms during a 14-year period around menopause in 203 women who were premenopausal at baseline and then progressed to menopause.

According to the study, scores on a depression scale were higher 10 years before the FMP and decreased up to eight years after, with the risk of depressive symptoms higher before and lower after the FMP. Women with a history of depression were much more likely than those without depression to have depressive symptoms around menopause.

“Although only a small percentage of women experience mood difficulties in relation to menopause, many want to know what to expect in this transition period. Women overall can expect depressive symptoms to decrease after FMP, although those with a history of depression have a continuing high risk of recurrence,” the authors conclude.

(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 13, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2819