What You Should Know about Antidepressants used with Menopause

By: James Pendergraft

Women who are experiencing symptoms like depression and hot flashes when going through menopause sometimes end up using antidepressants to battle these symptoms. Should you take antidepressants when feeling the pressure of menopausal symptoms and the discomfort of hot flashes? Is it wise to take antidepressants when your doctor gives you these medications to help ease the discomfort you are feeling? There are a few pros and cons to taking antidepressants when experiencing some of the symptoms of menopause and it is important that a woman know the good and the bad side of this strategy.

Menopause Is Not a Mental Illness

One fact that is important for women to get straight is that menopause is not a mental ailment. Therefore, the constant use of antidepressants to relieve oneself of the burden of hot flashes during menopause should be avoided. Menopause is not in any way a mental disorder, therefore the treatment of symptoms of menopause with the use of antidepressants should be questioned if not scrutinized. While women in the past found relief from such medications when they entered their middle years and started feeling the trying symptoms that menopause brings, women these days actually have a choice. To be able to make that choice, let us find out how antidepressants help menopausal women handle their symptoms.

What Can Menopause Antidepressants Do?

What exactly can menopause antidepressants do for women who take them? Since antidepressants are often taken when women who are going through menopause experience hot flashes, let us evaluate how hot flashes are remedied by this medication. According to one theory, hot flashes are reputed to occur due to the disruption of the serotonin balance in a woman’s body. Since serotonin is also reputed to help control the body’s temperature, the imbalance of the serotonin levels in a woman’s system causes the hypothalamus to react to these confused signals and tries to get the body to cool down. This is when a woman starts to sweat and experience hot flashes. Since antidepressants are said to have components that help restore balance to the hypothalamus, it essentially helps reduce the occurrence of hot flashes in menopausal women.

Are Antidepressants Really Effective for Menopausal Women?

While there is not much proof of the effectiveness of antidepressants for women who suffer from hot flashes, some doctors continue to prescribe these medicines to women who are experiencing hot flashes during menopause. There have been studies that seem to suggest that the effect brought about by the ingestion of these antidepressants by menopausal women is nothing but a placebo effect. Some studies also suggest that the taking of these antidepressants for a long period to help alleviate the discomfort of hot flashes is not worth all the side effects some women experience. With these findings, a lot of women are now questioning doctors about the prescription of antidepressants for their menopausal problems. They often question the logic of taking antidepressants when they are not experiencing depression with their menopause. Since these antidepressants were formulated to treat mental health conditions and major depression, prescribing it even for mild depression much less for menopause is not advisable, even if it may offer a quick fix to those hot flashes a woman may feel.

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