Menopause and depression: is there a link?

Maturitas. 2014 Oct;79(2):142-6. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.05.014. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Aim: Depression is common and may have significant implications for the individual, their families and work and for the health care system. The menopause transition (MT) may be an 'at risk' time for the development of depression. This review aims to explore the relationship between depression and MT and the complex interaction between the biological, psychological and social factors that inform it.

Methods: The literature on depressive disorders and MT is reviewed.

Results and conclusions: Longitudinal studies have demonstrated an association between the menopause transition (MT) and an increase in depressive symptoms. A trend towards higher rates of depressive disorders during the MT, has also been shown, although not always reaching statistical significance. Risk factors for the development of depressive symptoms and depression in the MT include the presence of vasomotor symptoms (VMS), a personal history of depression (particularly depression that is related to pregnancy or hormonal changes through the menstrual cycle), surgical menopause, adverse life events, and negative attitudes to menopause and ageing. A treatment approach to depression during the MT exploits the biological as well as the psychosocial factors that are likely to be contributing in an individual.

Keywords: Depression; Menopause; Midlife; Vasomotor menopausal symptoms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause / psychology*
  • Risk Factors