Study finds hot flashes increase the risk of depression

Research findings may lead to improved treatment of depression in perimenopausal and menopausal women.
By Amy Wallace  |  April 19, 2017 at 11:44 AM
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April 19 (UPI) -- New research has found a link between moderate to severe hot flashes and a significantly higher risk of depression in perimenopausal and menopausal women.

The large study of perimenopausal and menopausal women, conducted by researchers at Monash University in Australia, showed that moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms, also known as hot flashes or night sweats, were at a significant risk for developing moderate to severe depression.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 2,000 Australian women between the ages of 40 and 65 between October 2013 and March 2014 using the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire and the Beck Depression Inventory-II.

Cigarette, alcohol and psychotropic medication use was also assessed.

Results of the study showed 267 of the 2,020 women, or 13.3. percent, reported experiencing moderate to severe hot flashes or night sweats. After accounting for other factors such as age, marital status, body mass index and others, the women with moderate to severe hot flashes were more likely to have moderate to severe depressive symptoms compared to women who reported mild or no hot flashes.

"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," Dr. Susan G. Kornstein, executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health and president of the Academy of Women's Health, said in a press release.

Researchers found that hot flashes, depressive symptoms and use of antidepressant medication was common in the age range of the women in the study.

The study was published in the Journal of Women's Health.

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