Perimenopausal depression explained in new study

depression-perimenopause-link.1Perimenopause, which is generally defined as the time around which menopause occurs, has always been linked to clinical depression as a result of hormonal changes in the body. Mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression are just some of the mental health issues associated with a woman’s decline in estrogen. However, a new study has found a direct cause-and-effect link between depression and perimenopause.

The study in question was published in a recent summer issue of JAMA Psychiatry and led by Jeffrey Meyer, PhD, of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health at Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute in Toronto, Canada. For the study, Meyer and team examined a total of 58 women between the ages of 41 and 51 who were either experiencing perimenopause, menopause, or were still able to reproduce. They found that compared to the other groups of women, the perimenopausal group exhibited higher levels of a certain brain protein known as monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), which is an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine — all of which are chemicals responsible for maintaining a good mood and staving off depression.

Perimenopausal women were found to exhibit 34 percent higher levels of MAO-A than women who were younger, and 16 percent higher levels than those who had already been through menopause. This finding may explain why women who are just starting to go through menopause can tend to be more irritable and depressed than women who have already experienced menopause. Elevated levels of MAO-A are also associated with postpartum depression and major depressive disorder — both of which can often occur due to hormonal imbalance.

Meyer is now taking steps to test a series of ways to prevent the enzyme MAO-A from becoming elevated in perimenopausal women. He is considering using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat declined estrogen levels, which could help prevent MAO-A from becoming elevated enough to trigger depression.

A safer treatment method that can be used to prevent elevated MAO-A levels is through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) as well as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Being physically active on a regular basis and eating healthy foods can help prevent your hormones from becoming imbalanced, especially if you are above the normal weight range and eat foods that contain harmful toxins. Additionally, BHRT contains a natural plant source of estrogen and testosterone that replicate hormones in the human body, which has been found safer than conventional HRT in that it lacks compounds and hormones that are synthetic.

Rock Creek Wellness offers bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help you rebalance and sustain your hormone levels. Our pellet hormone program is designed for patients seeking a quick and affordable entry to bioidentical hormone therapy in Kansas City. Contact us today at 913-727-7700 to request a free consultation.