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Treatment of Menopause-Related Mood Disturbances

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2014


More than 1.7 million American women are expected to reach menopause each year. Recent Canadian statistics show that a 50-year-old woman can now expect to live until her mid-80s, which implies living at least one-third of her life after menopause. The menopausal transition is typically marked by intense hormonal fluctuations, accompanied by vasomotor symptoms (eg, hot flashes, night sweats), sleeps disturbance, and changes in sexual function, as well as increased risk for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline. More importantly, recent studies have demonstrated a significant association between menopausal transition and a higher risk for developing depression. In the post-Women's Health Initiative Study era, physicians and patients are questioning the safety and efficacy of long-term hormone therapy use. This article reviews the current literature on the benefits and risks of using hormone therapy for the treatment of menopause-related mood disturbances and alternate strategies currently available for the management of menopause-related problems, including antidepressants, complementary and alternative medicine, and selective estrogen receptor modulators.

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