Lee S. Cohen and other researchers at the Massachusetts General
The studied women were pre-menopausal at enrolment, meaning they still had regular periods or had not undergone other changes indicative of transition to menopause.
None of the women had ever been diagnosed with major depression. But those who entered perimenopause during the study period were almost twice as likely as those who didn't to develop significant symptoms of depression, according to the findings of the study that appeared in the April issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
The risk was greater in perimenopausal women who also had hot flashes, but it was still greatly elevated in those who did not have this and other common symptoms associated with transitioning to menopause, Cohen said.
Researchers argue in favor of aggressive treatment of both menopausal symptoms and depression symptoms occurring during the transition to menopause.
"There is a tendency to dismiss symptoms of depression as part and parcel of this transition, but they shouldn't be discounted," Cohen said.