Reproductive depression

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Mar;28 Suppl 1:42-5. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2012.651932.


Reproductive depression is the depression in women that is related to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and the menopause and is manifested clinically as premenstrual depression, postnatal depression and climacteric depression. These three components occur in the same vulnerable women in that a woman with depression in the menopausal transition will usually have a history of premenstrual syndrome (PMS; premenstrual dysphoric disorder [PMDD]), would have been in a good mood during pregnancy and then develop postnatal depression. When the periods return the depression becomes cyclical as PMS. These three conditions are effectively treated with transdermal estrogens which should be the first-choice therapy rather than antidepressants. Estrogens can be used together with antidepressants. The critical time to prevent long-term mood problems is the correct treatment of postnatal depression. In women with low energy and libido, often a side effect of antidepressants, the addition of transdermal testosterone is useful. These women with reproductive depression are often progesterone/progestogen intolerant and a smaller dose or duration of progestogen is a necessary compromise. Alternatively a Mirena IUS or rarely a hysterectomy is required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Climacteric / metabolism
  • Climacteric / physiology
  • Climacteric / psychology
  • Depression, Postpartum / etiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / metabolism
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology
  • Menstrual Cycle / psychology
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Women's Health


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones