Is There a Connection Between Your Age at Menopause and Later Depression? - Ellen Dolgen

Is There a Connection Between Your Age at Menopause and Later Depression?

A study reported in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that the older a women is when she reaches menopause, the lower the risk of depression later in life.

Eleni Th Petridou, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, and coauthors included 14 studies in a meta-analysis that represented nearly 68,000 women.

The study results suggest that if you enter menopause (are without a period for 12 consecutive months) at age 40 or older compared with premature menopause (you stop having periods and can’t become pregnant before the age of 40) was associated with a decreased risk for depression.

Once again, it is important for women to understand the role estrogen plays in our bodies.  This study suggests that a longer reproductive period (older age of menopause) which means a longer exposure to endogenous estrogens impacts the level of risk for later depression.  The study suggests that women who have a shorter reproductive period may be at higher risk of depression.

“This meta-analysis suggests a potentially protective effect of increasing duration of exposure to endogenous estrogens as assessed by age at menopause as well as by the duration of the reproductive period. If confirmed in prospective and culturally diverse studies controlling for potential confounders and assessing depression via psychiatric evaluation, these findings could have a significant clinical effect by allowing for the identification of a group of women at higher risk for depression who may benefit from psychiatric monitoring or estrogen-based therapies,” the authors conclude.

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