Complete Symptom Guide to Menopause and Depression | Stella

Menopause and depression


Depression is feeling sad and/or numb that lasts for weeks or months and affects your daily life. This is different from feeling down, which usually lasts a few days. Having depression also means you might lack interest or pleasure in activities that you would usually find rewarding or enjoyable.

During menopause, your mind and body go through a lot and it’s no wonder that it can also impact your mood. This might sound concerning but there is help out there and you do not need to struggle alone.


Depression affects people in different ways and can result in a variety of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms. These symptoms can vary from mild to severe. They can also co-occur with other issues such as anxiety.

You may have depression if you:

  • Feel sad or depressed for weeks or months at a time
  • Lose pleasure or interest in activities that you once enjoyed or felt rewarding
  • Notice changes in appetite – weight loss or weight gain unrelated to dieting
  • Have issues with sleep – trouble having a good night’s rest or sleeping too much
  • Have no energy and/or increased fatigue during the day
  • Increase fidgety activities, such as an inability to sit still, pacing, hand-wringing or slowed speech/movements, which are usually noticed by others
  • Have feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Find it difficult to concentrate, think clearly or make decisions
  • Have thoughts about death or suicide

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  • Some might be more prone to depression or depressive episodes during menopause if they’ve experienced it at other points in their lifetime
  • It’s during the perimenopausal phase that you are most at risk to develop depressive symptoms, even if you’ve never had depression before
  • Stressful life events that are more common at this stage of life, such as divorce, job loss, or parental death may also trigger depression or depressive episodes
  • Several other factors have been linked to perimenopausal depression, including a family history of depression, prior history of sexual abuse or violence, negative feelings towards aging and menopause, and severe menopausal symptoms

Read more about the stages of menopause.


Disrupts your sleep and appetite

Feeling tired all the time

Sleeping more or less, and waking up early

Difficulty concentrating, and possibly feeling anxious too

Causes of depression can be hugely complex and are usually a result of interactions between social, psychological, and biological factors.


Research has shown that changing hormone levels during perimenopause may account for depressive episodes and depression during your menopause transition.

When estrogen levels fluctuate, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine (hormones that make you feel happy) are also affected, it can cause mood dysregulation. This is when it is hard for a person to control or regulate their emotional responses.

Specific menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and their impact on sleep have also been implicated in depression during menopause.

Symptoms of depression can have a profound effect on both mental and physical health. Most of the time these aren’t immediately noticeable, but if left unchecked can become issues in the future.

Long-term depression can affect the following:

  • Weight fluctuations
  • Increased pain sensitivity, especially towards headaches, backaches, and more general aches and pains
  • Weakened immune system, making it harder to fight off viruses like flu and common colds
  • Lower libido 
  • Lower self-esteem

If you feel that you might be depressed or have symptoms of depression that make day-to-day living feel tough, it might be a good time to book an appointment with your healthcare provider or speak to someone you trust about getting help.

There are many treatments including medication, talking therapies – such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – and speaking to a trained therapist.

Walking at sunrise resets my melatonin, boosts serotonin and you never feel worse after a walk!”



Five reasons why stress and perimenopause are an issue. Read more

Tracking your symptoms to manage menopause. Read more

HT risks and benefits. Read more

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