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Hormone Therapy May Ease Depression Linked to Menopause

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) — A yr of hormone therapy reduce the danger of depression signs in women going by means of menopause and early postmenopause, new analysis exhibits.

“Thirty-two percent of women randomized to treatment with a placebo experienced clinically significant depressive symptoms. But for women randomized to hormone therapy, the risk was cut nearly in half, to 17 percent,” stated co-principal investigator Susan Girdler. She’s a professor of psychiatry on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Girdler added there have been two most important elements that predicted whether or not or not women would expertise fewer depression signs whereas on hormone remedy. One issue was being in perimenopause (the transition to menopause) and the opposite was experiencing vital life stress, akin to dropping a beloved one or divorce.

Surprisingly, for women with a previous historical past of major depression — which is a recognized danger issue for future depression — hormone remedy did not seem to reduce the danger of depressive signs.

Girdler stated usually women going by means of menopause have a twofold to fourfold greater danger of depression signs. There are numerous theories as to why that’s, together with current life stress and the concept some women could also be extra weak to wildly fluctuating hormones, she defined.

To see if hormone remedy may affect the danger of melancholy, the researchers recruited 172 women between the ages of 45 and 60. All of the women have been both perimenopausal or just lately postmenopausal at the beginning of the research.

Half of the women have been aged 51 or older. Seventy-six % of the women have been white, and 19 % have been black. The imply family revenue was between $50,000 and $80,000.

The women have been randomly chosen to considered one of two teams. One group was given an inactive placebo patch to put on. The different group acquired pores and skin patches that delivered zero.1 milligrams per day of estrogen.

Every three months, women within the estrogen patch group have been additionally given 12 days of the hormone progesterone to make sure that women who nonetheless had a uterus shed their uterine lining (endometrium), which helped to offset a possible improve within the danger of endometrial cancer associated to estrogen remedy. Hormone remedy was given for a yr.

The researchers additionally requested the women to full a melancholy symptom questionnaire. However, they did not diagnose any of the women with melancholy, simply “clinically significant depressive symptoms.”

Girdler stated that vital fluctuations in hormone variability, in addition to worrying life occasions, can destabilize the cortisol stress axis.

Cortisol is a stress hormone that “helps mobilize the body to respond to stress and to release energy stores so we can prepare for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. This worked beautifully in cave people, but the problem is we still respond to stress as if there’s a tiger coming after us, but instead we’re just sitting at a computer,” she defined.

Dr. Hadine Joffe, government director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, co-authored an editorial accompanying the brand new research. Joffe stated elements akin to hot flashes and sleep disturbances may additionally play a task within the elevated danger of depressive signs.

“Those factors can be intervened with nondrug therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy,” Joffe stated. And, should you can enhance sleep by decreasing hot flashes and persistent insomnia, you might also scale back depressive signs.

If you need to use a nondrug remedy, that is most popular if it helps, Joffe stated.

The common time for the menopausal transition is about 4 years, in accordance to Joffe. Girdler stated it isn’t clear how lengthy women would wish to take hormone remedy, however she does not envision it might be wanted for the whole transition time, notably as a result of the research discovered that hormones have been most useful in women early within the menopause transition.

Joffe and obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Jill Rabin, from Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y., stated the recommendation for premenopausal women stays the identical. Recently, the nation’s main authority on preventive drugs, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, stood agency and stated solely postmenopausal women ought to keep away from hormone replacement therapy.

“When the benefits of hormone therapy outweigh the risks, women should be on the lowest dose for the shortest time,” Rabin stated of women going via the early levels of menopause.

Rabin famous that women within the research did have irregular bleeding, which was a bit regarding. Girdler added that one lady skilled a blood clot.

Rabin stated the research raises some very fascinating questions, however that it wants to be replicated in a bigger, extra numerous group of individuals. “This was a small, pretty homogenous study,” she identified.

Dr. Alan Manevitz, a medical psychiatrist from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed that the research discovering raises questions and wishes to be duplicated.

None of the specialists beneficial asking your physician for hormone remedy to forestall melancholy, however Manevitz urged women going by means of menopause who’re experiencing depressive signs to get a melancholy evaluation.

The research was revealed on-line Jan. 10 within the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Susan Girdler, Ph.D., professor, psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Hadine Joffe, M.D., government director, Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Jill Rabin, M.D., professor, obstetrics and gynecology, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, and co-chief, division of ambulatory care, Women’s Health Programs-PCAP Services, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Alan Manevitz, M.D., medical psychiatrist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Jan. 10, 2018, JAMA Psychiatry, on-line

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