Depression can severely affect a person’s relationships, social life and self-worth. Although it can affect anyone regardless of age or gender, there are types of depression that are specifically experienced by women only.
The primary reason is that depression is related to bodily and hormonal functions only women are capable of, such as menstrual cycle and pregnancy. For women, knowing how to deal with these kinds of depression is important in order to maintain good emotional, mental and physical health.
Depression before the Menstrual Cycle
A number of women usually feel irritable, sad and tired a few days before the menstrual period. These emotions and physical symptoms, such as tenderness of the breasts, distension of the stomach and headache, are collectively termed as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This type of depression normally goes away after a week. Studies have shown that this syndrome normally occurs in women between 30 to 45 years old and disappears during menopause. In a few cases, premenstrual syndrome has been observed to worsen after childbirth. Women who experience this kind of depression usually show mood shifts, severe irritability, frequent outbursts of anger or rage and exhaustion. Sometimes, when the symptoms occur, this kind of depression affects a woman’s relationship with others.
Contraceptive Pills and Depression
Although there is no solid proof about the connection between pills and depression, there are women who feel depressed after taking contraceptive pills. Basically, the function of a contraceptive pill is to lower the tryptophan in the bloodstream. Tryptophan is important in producing Serotonin (a hormone that plays a major role in controlling a person’s mood, appetite and sleep). It has also been reported that contraceptive pills enhance antidepressant drugs. Thus, a woman who currently takes antidepressants and contraceptive pills may find herself having an excessive amount of antidepressants in her body.
Menopause and Depression
Menopause is the term used to describe the permanent termination of the functions of a woman’s ovaries. With the start of menopause comes the end of menstruation. On average, menopause period starts around age 51. During this time, women may become irritable, easily fatigued, and often despondent. Hot flushes and sweating have also been observed in these women. What causes this depression is the decrease in estrogen level, which is said to affect a woman’s moods.
Not all women who are already in the menopausal stage experience depression. Only about 25 percent of menopausal women experience depression, a majority of which are women who have had their ovaries taken out prior to menopause. A possible treatment for this type of depression is to take estrogen supplements, as it has been proven to decrease the occurrence of insomnia, anxiety and despondency and other symptoms.