A new study of more than 2,000 perimenopausal and menopausal women showed that moderate-severe vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes or night sweats) were an independent and significant risk factor for moderate-severe depression. Researchers explored the controversial link between hot flashes and depressive symptoms by focusing on more severe forms of both conditions and concluding that there is likely a common underlying cause, as reported in an article published in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website until May 18, 2017.
Data presented in the article entitled "Moderate-Severe Vasomotor Symptoms Are Associated with Moderate-Severe Depressive Symptoms," demonstrate that among a group of women ages 40-65, those with moderate-severe hot flashes were significantly more likely to have moderate-severe depression than women with no or mild vasomotor symptoms. Roisin Worsley, MBBS, Robin Bell, PhD, Pragya Gartoulla, Penelope Robinson, and Susan Davis, MBBS, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, found hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and use of antidepressant medication to be common in the age range of women included in the study.. The researchers also examined whether or not moderate-severe depression was associated with a greater likelihood of psychotropic medication use, smoking, or binge drinking at least once a week.
"The results of this study shed further light on therapeutic findings, with both anti-depressant medication and estrogen therapy having the potential to improve hot flashes and mood," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.