Objectives: The aims of this study were to identify the risk of depression in the transition to menopause in women with and without a history of depression and to consider that the changing hormonal milieu is one of multiple risk factors for perimenopausal depression.
Method: A review of epidemiologic studies of depressed mood in the menopausal transition since the State-of-Science Report of the National Institutes of Health in 2005 was conducted.
Results: Recent longitudinal cohort studies indicate that the likelihood of depressed mood in the menopausal transition is approximately 30% to three times greater compared with that during premenopause. Women with a history of depression are nearly five times more likely to have a diagnosis of major depression in the menopausal transition, whereas women with no history of depression are two to four times more likely to report depressed mood compared with premenopausal women. In some studies, the changing hormonal milieu is significantly associated with depressive symptoms in the menopausal transition. Other risk factors for depressed mood in perimenopausal women include poor sleep, hot flashes, stressful or negative life events, employment status, age, and race.
Conclusions: The findings support the concept that the menopausal transition is a "window of vulnerability" for some women and is framed by the changing hormonal milieu of ovarian aging.