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Myths and the facts about Depression during menopause

Added/Modified on September 16, 2016

Menopause is a dreaded word in the dictionary of all women beyond the age of forty. With so many stories of menopausal discomfort doing the rounds, a woman is already apprehensive about reaching this stage of life. Menopause is a normal aging process and most women come out of it unscathed, escaping with some minor discomforts. This is why it becomes extremely vital to step into menopause with a positive attitude, armed with optimism and calm outlook. If you fail to do so, there is every chance of going into depression that could be harmful to your body. Most menopausal-age women tend to believe all the so-called real stories of how women had to undergo agony and illness after their menopause. Most of them are just myths and need to be debunked. Listed here are the top 9 myths about menopausal depression:

1. Menopause makes you unstable
Menopause does cause some amount of behavioral changes in a woman due to changes in the hormonal ratio. This may cause women to react strongly and unpredictably to seemingly simple situations. However, this does not mean that a woman undergoing menopause may become unstable for the rest of her life. If she is aware that she has been affected with partly mood swings, she can control herself and see that she does not react strongly every time she feels agitated. She can learn some relaxation techniques that can help her remain unmoved by provocation.

2. Menopause leads to memory loss
This is absolutely not true. There is no relation between menopause and loss of memory. They are two different conditions which may surface during the same time due to aging. Menopause does not contribute to memory loss at any point in time. In fact, young women are sometimes absent minded and forgetful. This is purely an individual trait that could be just inherited. Low levels of estrogen do slow down the cognitive processes but this does not affect your memory greatly.

3. Menopause leads to weight gain and consequent depression
Many women feel that the gain in weight makes them slow and inactive. They do not feel young and energetic any more. This may lead to negative thoughts in their minds and they begin to feel low in self confidence when they see an attractive and young woman. However, all women in menopause do not gain weight. Infact there are many health conscious menopausal ladies who can give a lesson to younger women who do not keep themselves fit. It is only that some women tend to become a tad lazy and laid back which makes them put on weight.

4. Menopause makes you look shaggy and unattractive
Menopause may bring about some bodily changes such as darkening of facial skin, graying of hair and sagging of muscles. But, with a little bit of extra care and time devoted to yourself, you can feel rejuvenated and look attractive even at your age. Depressed women may go into a greater level of depression if they do not look after themselves. They need to spend some extra time and care to see that they age gracefully and beautifully. There are many women in their fifties and sixties who still look stunning, disproving the myth that menopause contributes to shaggy and aged look.

5. Menopause can hamper work efficiency
It is not true that women in their menopausal age are any less efficient than their younger counterparts. In fact, years of experience make them wiser making them tread a bit cautiously and not take unnecessary risks at work. Some women may get a bit tired quickly but this does not hamper their efficiency in any way. In fact, it has been observed that women in their fifties make better managers and CEOs and work amazingly well at the helm. They can also handle men much better than the younger women who tend to get trampled by go-getters at work. An older woman is capable of handling all sorts of work pressure and does not give up easily during a crisis situation.

6. Menopause causes depression in every woman
It is a common myth that all women who undergo menopause will end up with depression. This is absolutely far from truth. In fact, it has been observed that only 10 to 15 % of the menopausal bracket of women may show signs of depression. The rest may simply show some mood swings or strong reactions to some situations. It has been scientifically observed that drastically low levels of estrogen may be the root cause of some women ending up with depression. Some women may feel insecure but a little support and assurance from the family will help them overcome this transient phase and lead a normal life, unhindered by negative thoughts.

7. Hormone replacement therapy prevents menopausal depression
HRT or hormone replacement therapy is definitely not a preventive treatment to menopausal depression. If at all a woman has been diagnosed with depression post menopause, then she needs to get medical help from the proper doctors such as psychiatrists or counselors. HRT is prescribed after a lot of detailed hormonal essaying and analysis. HRT may coincidentally boost one’s confidence by improving zealousness and vigor. This can help in preventing depressing symptoms that can arise due to lack of self confidence. HRT in itself does not prevent menopausal depression.

8. Menopausal depression is seen only in women
It is one of the greatest myths that menopausal depression is seen only in women. The stark fact is that men too, undergo menopause, albeit at a later age than women. Most of the men experience menopause in their mid fifties or sixties. Though the proportion of depressed men due to menopause is comparatively less, it is not entirely absent. Very often, menopause in men tends to get unnoticed as not many are even aware of this. It is always the woman who is a cynosure of all eyes and any small change in her behavior tends to be noticed and magnified in contrast to that of a man.

9. Stress can aggravate menopausal depression
Stress, at any time if acute, tends to lead to depression. Menopause comes at an age when the levels of responsibilities are at their peak and this, clubbed with deadlines and acute stress, can lead to depression. It is not that menopause itself is the causative factor for depression due to stress. Therefore, it becomes very important to resort to relaxation techniques and fitness regimes to combat stress during this age. Menopausal depression is a different entity altogether and stress cannot aggravate depression during this natural transition.

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