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Mood Disorders During Perimenopause and Menopause

There is an increased prevalence of depression and anxiety in perimenopausal and menopausal women due to declining estrogen levels and other hormonal changes that occur during this life phase. These changes can cause women to experience mild to severe mood swings, depression and anxiety.
Hormonal changes can result in other mind and mood related symptoms as well, such as anxiety, irritability, “brain fog” and lack of motivation. Insomnia is another common symptom in perimenopausal and menopausal women and can exacerbate irritability, mood swings, depression and anxiety.

When to talk to your physician

In the case of depression, mild depressive episodes generally do not persist beyond a few weeks, nor does mild depression interfere with day-to-day function. Therefore, it’s important for a woman to see her physician when feelings of depression or anxiety are persistent and she is experiencing any of the following symptoms in addition to depression/anxiety:

  • Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • Lack of interest in daily activities; lack of motivation
  • Withdrawal from friends/family
  • Loss of ener​gy or slowed movement
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Restlessness, agitation
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or inadequacy
  • Thoughts or ideas about suicide, even if in passing (seek immediate medical care)

Treatment Options

There are many highly effective treatment options available for treating mood disorders in women. The most common treatment options include:

  • Counseling, psychotherapy and support groups
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications
  • Lifestyle changes, such as exercising and eating healthy


For more information about depression and other mood disorders, please speak with your physician, or click here to locate a Hoag-affiliated physician near you.​