Perimenopause is a term used to describe the symptoms a women experiences prior to the onset of a full diagnosis of Menopause. ONe of the major symptoms that can occur during this period is Depression. You can sometimes feel a little bit lower in mood than you have been, but not sure why? Nothing in your life has changed..
However, the hormone changes that occur at this point in a womens life can influence the neurotransmitters in the brain- serotonin and dopamine that regulate brain function. These neurotransmitters send messages to various parts of the brain responsible for functions such as sleep , appetite , mood , sexual interest and sense of well-being.
Rapid fluxes in hormone levels can throw some women out of synch. Considering this, its not far fetched to say that menopause can be the breaking point that throws a womens mood into a tailspin, particularly if her neurotransmitters are already running on empty.
The fact is , one in 3 women will be diagnosed with major depression at some point in her life. This frequently conincides with menopause, particularly if the perimenopausal transition is especially long or difficult.
Which comes first , Menopause or Depression?
Today, research suggests that during the time a woman is making the transition into menopause, she is at risk for depression, particularly if that transition is tumultuous.Women with no family history or personal experience of depression suddenly feel helplessly down and out. They have been healthy, medically stable and free of major stressors. Then BAM.. Menopause hits. You are having mood swings, precipitated in part by lack of sleep as hot flushes keep you awake. You wake in the morning feeling irritable , uncomfortable and become concerned about blood pressure, rising cholesterol, and stubborn weight gain.
Perimenopause can be to blame for your feeling of depression, however the key is to remember that depression is a treatable condition, not a sign of weakness or something you should be ashamed about. You can do something about it and feel better.