Women in the UK are being wrongly prescribed antidepressants to combat hormonal mood problems, according to a study of 1,101 U.K.-based women aged 42-55.
The What Woman Want at Menopause survey revealed:
- Over a third of menopausal women were offered antidepressants after issues with mood
- 84% of women felt their GP did not fully address their questions about the menopause
- Only three in 10 of women felt their doctor had been helpful regarding menopause
Professor John Studd, who is internationally recognised as one of the UK’s leading menopause experts, has long called for a greater understanding of the link between depression and hormones. He has commented: ‘The tragedy for women is that usually the association between hormonal fluctuations and depression is not recognised by their doctors who will instead treat them with antidepressants.’
Reproductive depression misdiagnosed
Professor Studd added that this misdiagnosis can have far-reaching effects. ‘ As these are inappropriate for hormone responsive depression they often do not work and the dose will then be increased. Often, a second or third antidepressant will be prescribed and sometimes even mood-stabilising and anti-epileptic drugs. Sometimes the condition will be dangerously diagnosed as bipolar disorder.’
The benefits of hormone replacement therapy have been promoted since the 1950s, to replace depleted hormones and treat symptoms of menopause, as well as helping to protect against health risks.
How can HRT help mood?
Hormone replacement therapy can help menopausal women with:
- Protecting against heart disease, as oestrogen and testosterone protect the arteries and heart from damage.
- Strengthening bones, as women can lose up to 20% of their bone density after menopause, making them more at risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Boosting energy levels, as volatile hormones can leave you lacklustre.
- Mood swings, as fluctuating hormones can cause bouts of depression.
- Boosting memory and concentration.
- Younger looking skin, as oestrogen reduces collagen loss.
- Vaginal dryness, as oestrogen can help to keep the vaginal tissues supple and lubricated.
You can start taking hormone replacement therapy as soon as menopausal symptoms start to show, and you feel they are impacting on your life. A sign you’re close to menopause is not having had a period for three months, while a year without a period signals the start of menopause,
Professor Studd founded the London PMS & Menopause Clinic. Globally recognised as one of the leading experts in the field of HRT, he has handpicked the UK's best gynaecologists to consult at the London PMS & Menopause Clinic.
The team of consultant gynaecologists includes:
The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods ceaseFull medical glossary
Diagnoses that are missed altogether, wrong, or should have been made much earlierFull medical glossary