A medical procedure known as hormone replacement therapy might be a viable weapon against depression induced by menopause.
Research is beginning to explain the reasons why hormone therapy may provide an efficient form of treatment for mental struggles associated with menopause, however for some, the risks of such therapy may leave one to desire other potential treatments for depressive episodes brought about by menopause.
What Is Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is the use of synthetic versions of various hormones to remedy several diseases and health conditions. This process is most commonly used by physicians seeking to replenish important hormones, lost by both men and women due to age and/or underlying medical problems, that result in potentially serious manifestations. Medical professionals often refer to such a treatment protocol as hormone replacement therapy, an approach often employed on menopausal women as it can be effective in easing the symptoms women experience while going through menopause.
Menopause is a natural phenomenon all women reaching their late forties or early fifties will eventually experience. This condition occurs when a woman’s ovaries cease producing crucial reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
This process also results in an end to a woman’s menstrual cycles and her ability to conceive children. In addition, the condition can and typically does precipitate several untoward symptoms, one of which might be depression.
Why Does Menopause Cause Depression?
Hormones are often vital to balancing mood and mental stability. Therefore, menopause leaves women vulnerable to developing mental issues due to the significant hormonal fluctuations and eventual, but gradual hormonal decline she will experience while being afflicted with the malady. That said, menopausal-induced depressive states are not always severe and often dissipate after the woman progresses past this life stage. If her symptoms are severe, however, her mental challenges might be pursuant to a more serious underlying medical problem.
How Hormone Therapy Can Help?
Replenishing diminished and/or lost hormones provides a method of compensating for what the body can no longer produce. A scientific study recently conducted at the University of North Carolina proves such therapy can be effective in treating menopausal women stricken with mental and mood disorders. For this study, researchers examined more than 170 menopausal women who claimed to be experiencing depressive episodes. A solid percentage of those women who were administered estrogen and progesterone saw their symptoms ebb after treatment.
Are There Risk Factors Associated with Hormone Therapy?
Many women undergoing replacement therapy might experience relatively common side effects such as headaches, nausea and perhaps breast pain. While these symptoms may seem insignificant, in some cases, this type of treatment may eventually lead to the development of more dangerous medical conditions such as blood clots, cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart disease, excessive vaginal bleeding and various forms of cancer.
Prior to considering and/or beginning a replacement therapy protocol, all women are urged to speak with their doctors, especially if they possess a family history and/or other risk factors associated with the aforementioned illnesses.
What Other Options Can Women with Risk Factors Employ?
Fortunately, women who are not suitable candidates for replacement therapy, or those looking to avoid further complications, can employ other techniques to battle menopausal-induced mental decline, including:
The Use of Natural Substances
Certain natural herbs, can be effective in improving mood, helping balance hormonal fluctuations and fighting depressive episodes.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is one nutrient which is formed in the nerve cells from the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. With the help of a special enzyme, 5-HTP can be transformed into serotonin, ultimately helping maintaining healthy serotonin levels to ensure that neurotransmitters work together properly in the brain. Because poor serotonin levels can influence things like the perception of pain, appetite, bowel peristalsis, mood swings, and other ailments, maintaining healthy serotonin levels can be a good starting point for maintaining a healthy mood.
In addition, the mildly-estrogenic elements found in Trifolium (red clover) is believed to help soothe the symptoms of menopause without unwanted side effects.
Invoking Lifestyle Alterations
For some menopausal women, finding a clearer and healthier mental state by engaging in activities such as exercise, a favorite hobby and/or volunteering can help create a positive distraction from less than favorable side effects of depression.
Avoiding or Creating a Healthy Approach to Stressful Situations
Unexpected stressful events are usually unavoidable. That said, depressed, menopausal women are strongly urged to actively steer clear of unnecessary stressful and/or challenging events. That being said, not everything can be avoided. Creating a healthy approach to stress through positive self-reflection, or with a healthy and positive support group can help take some burden off of some situations, ultimately allowing a negative or depressive mental state to improve.