Reproductive depression and HRT

Effective treatment of reproductive depression

Reproductive depression is a group of conditions that affect women at times of hormonal changes. Psychiatrists will prescribe antidepressants, gynaecologists will treat these conditions with hormone therapy.

When depression is hormonal, not psychiatric

Reproductive depression can often affect women during times of hormonal fluctuation. It has been shown that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be extremely beneficial in treating this form of depression. This suggests that in most cases the condition is therefore related to hormones rather than psychology.

The use of transdermal oestrogens is recommended to suppress ovulation in women with PMS and for postnatal depression. This approach balances the otherwise profoundly fluctuating oestrogen levels. HRT should be the first choice therapy in pre-menopausal women with depression, whether they have associated symptoms or not. Transdermal oestrogens are preferable because they do not raise any potential issue of blood clots. 

For women with libido and energy problems, which often coexist with depression and treatment by antidepressants, testosterone can be added in the form of testosterone gel in the appropriate dose. 

For further information see article by Professor John Studd, Hormones and depression in women