Depression is a typical female problem: three times as many women as men are affected by depression. During menopause, the risk of depression increases. It is obvious that depressions are influenced by hormonal changes. Some studies suggest that changes in estrogen levels are associated with onset of depression. Depression is something that should be treated because depression can affect our health. Depressions can increase the risk for heart diseases and osteoporosis.
It easy to treat depression with medicines (anti-depressants). Use of hormone replacement therapy will also reduce depressions but is not without risk. Depression can also be treated by a psychological therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tries to reduce negative thoughts and behaviours. Interpersonal Therapy tries to improve the communicate skills with other people.
These are some alternative therapies to treat depression during menopause:
- Herbal therapy – The best known herb used for depression is St John’s wort. Red clover extract and soy isoflavones can help to reduce the effect of estrogen fluctuations.
- Exercise – Exercise reduces depression because it lowers the level of the depression hormone cortisol and releases mood-enhancing endorphins.
- Better sleep – Make sure that you sleep enough and that you go to sleep at regular times. Do not go to bed immediately after intensive exercise and try to introduce bedtime rituals such as yoga exercises, listening to relaxing music or taking a warm bath.
- Healthier diet
Try to eat a well balanced diet with a lot of nuts, fruit and vegetables and limit the amount of refined foods and animal products. In order to enjoy the benefits of natural isoflavones, you should increase consumption soy products (soy milk, tofu, tempeh, etc). Try to avoid foods that contain caffeine, alcohol. It is better to eat lighter meal more frequently, for example every three hours to keep your blood sugar level more constant.