Hormones and Depression
There is a whole range of hormone responsive depression in women essentially due to sudden changed in hormone levels. These are most obviously seen with monthly premenstrual depression, post natal depression after the birth of a baby and perimenopausal depression which is at its worst in the 2 or 3 years before the periods cease. These women aged 45ish with perimenopausal depression often have a history of post natal depression and PMS. Another clue is that they are often very well during pregnancy and suffer from menstrual migraine or menstrual headaches another manifestation of symptoms due to changing hormone levels. There are many studies publishes in the prestigious journals like the Lancet showing the effects of transdermal oestrogens on these episodes of depression in women. Unfortunately psychiatrists have not made an effort to learn how to use oestrogens and their first choice would be various antidepressants.
It is common when you ask a depressed 45 year old woman when they were last well to be answered by “when I was last pregnant”. Then post natal depression occurred and they were put on antidepressants which worked for a few months and then changed to another and another and they end up of 10 years of antidepressants, occasional electroconvulsant therapy and really are no better.
For the correct patient, there is little doubt that oestrogens through the skin perhaps also with testosterone which improves energy, libido and mood should be first choice therapy for this common long standing depression in women.
With best wishes
John STUDD, DSc, MD, FRCOG
Professor of Gynaecology
You can read more here: www.studd.co.uk/depression.php
See Denise Welch on Loose Women talking about Hormones and Depression and Professor John Studd
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