Moderate Hot Flashes May Increase Risk of Depression

A new study finds that moderate to severe hot flashes among menopausal women are a significant risk factor for depression.

Australian researchers studied more than 2,000 perimenopausal and menopausal women, focusing on the more severe forms of vasomotor symptoms — hot flashes or night sweats.

Although controversial, investigators found that among a group of women ages 40-65, those with moderate-severe hot flashes were significantly more likely to have moderate-severe depression than women with no or mild vasomotor symptoms.

Study findings appear in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Roisin Worsley, M.B.B.S., Robin Bell, Ph.D., Pragya Gartoulla, Penelope Robinson, and Susan Davis, M.B.B.S., Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, found hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and use of antidepressant medication to be common in the age range of women included in the study.

The researchers also examined whether or not moderate-severe depression was associated with a greater likelihood of psychotropic medication use, smoking, or binge drinking at least once a week.

“The results of this study shed further light on therapeutic findings, with both anti-depressant medication and estrogen therapy having the potential to improve hot flashes and mood,” said Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of Women’s Health.

Source: Journal of Women’s Health/Mary Ann Liebert