The older a woman was at menopause, the less likely she was to suffer from depression later in life, according to a review of medical literature.
Dr Eleni Th Petridou, of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, and coauthors included 14 studies in a meta-analysis that represented nearly 68,000 women.
‘Women who are 40 and older when menopause begins and have a longer reproductive life are at low risk of depression than those with premature menopause.’
Study results suggest menopause at age 40 or older compared with premature menopause was associated with a decreased risk for depression (four studies; 3,033 unique participants). Older age at menopause and a longer reproductive period mean a longer exposure to endogenous estrogens.
"This meta-analysis suggests a potentially protective effect of increasing duration of exposure to endogenous estrogens as assessed by age at menopause as well as by the duration of the reproductive period. ... If confirmed in prospective and culturally diverse studies controlling for potential confounders and assessing depression via psychiatric evaluation, these findings could have a significant clinical effect by allowing for the identification of a group of women at higher risk for depression who may benefit from psychiatric monitoring or estrogen-based therapies," the authors conclude.