Do Anti-Depressants work for menopause or do you need Hormones?

DTSelzamJanuary 15, 2002

I feel like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. But my doctor wants to put me on Anti-depressants and I don't feel depressed every day or most days. Some days I feel more emotional and irritable, but am generally a happy person.

What does anti-depressants do for menopause? I don't understand the connection.

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It depends on what problem you're trying to solve. There have been several studies using prozac (or the generic form) for severe PMS or "PMMD," that found it to be effective in treating these symptoms. The FDA approved Lilly's "Serafem" (which is another name for prozac) for this purpose about a year ago. You might try looking it up on for more information.

However, it sounds to me as though you don't have any significant problems, so I'm not sure what your doctor's trying to treat.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2002 at 12:36PM
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My doctor wants to give me the anti-depressants for my cramping that started lately and for the bloating and pressure I get. Also for the irritable feeling I get about a week before my period, but I have always had that. He says that taking the anti-depressants will make me calmer or something, I don't know really for sure, he didn't say. Just that I have so many symptoms with my period now with the new cramping and irregular bleeding patterns and types of blood, sometimes really clumpy clotty and sometimes hot and fresh leaking feeling for all the days I have my period. He said the anti-depressants will make it better adn I won't need to come into him after that for my period.

I think from what I have read, that I might need hormones and not anti-depressants. But, I will call him today adn tell him to call Walgreens and I will take them if you think they are what I need to do.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2002 at 2:00PM
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Please, please never take medical advice from someone over the internet. You need to do your research and decide for yourself what's best for you. I provided a very little bit of information. You need to do a lot more research yourself using that information and any other information you get in response to your question before you decide to take your doctor's recommendation.

The prozac/serafem isn't likely to do anything about the new menstrual problems you're having. Your doctor may be hoping that it will change the way you view these new problems. That's not as crazy as it sounds. Perimenopause is full of surprises and for a lot of women just knowing that these things are a normal part of menopause is calming. Everything you've listed here is normal in the years before menopause.

Has your doctor done any diagnostic tests to rule out a physical cause for the changes other than menopause? An endometrial biopsy and an ultrasound might be good ideas if these have not yet been done. Bloodwork for menopause is a waste of time and money because the levels are so variable.

Good luck and feel free to email me if you wish.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2002 at 3:48PM
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Hi DTSelzam..........How old are you, if I may ask?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2002 at 5:28PM
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My friend who has been out of menopause for about 10 years just said to me this morning that she took the anti-depressants for a while and it helped her. She will not do hormone replacement because of breast cancer. I had not heard of that, but maybe it depends on what is bothering you and how it is affecting you.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2002 at 3:48PM
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I just went for my yearly exam about 2 weeks ago. My moods are so extreme for 3 weeks out of the month, that my OB/GYN recommended that I try an antidepressant. I was ready for this, as the mood swings are getting way out of control. I started Zoloft about 5 days ago, 25 mg. for 1 week, and then I move up to 50 mg. Coincidentally, I found that my son's fiance's mom is taking Zoloft for menopausal mood symptoms and she feels it's literally changed her life. She still gets the normal bad days which we all have, but she's back to "normal" again and functioning well. I only hope that it can do that much for me.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2002 at 6:25AM
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I started out two years ago dealing with menopause symptomatically by taking anti-depressant medicine. I wasn't sad...just blahhh, no energy, no interest, didn't give a shxx about anything, slept too much, did very little, became a couch potato. The antidepressant made a big difference but I still really didn't feel like ME. After a while my doctor tried me on a different antidepressant and I started feeling like 80% of my former self. A month ago, I started HRT and I feel even better. Not feeling/acting like ME has been the worst of all of this. I thought I had a personality!!! I didn't realize I was nothing but a mix of hormones :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2002 at 8:59AM
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My doc started me on Zoloft about 3 months ago. I took it for 2 weeks, and progressively the side effects were really affecting me. e.g. headaches, nausea (waking at night and vomiting), terrible heartburn, etc. I just couldn't tolerate it, so I stopped. I feel pretty blah 2-3 weeks out of the month, like the earlier poster..I'm very apathetic, but along with this I get extremely anxious - especially upon waking in the A.M. and somewhat paranoid. I tried Prozac a few years ago, and I couldn't tolerate the side effects from it either. It's a shame because it might have really helped. I just try to live with it because, at this point in time, it seems there is nothing out there that can help me, so I have to just "get up, get out, and get active". Not always easy to do.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2002 at 12:09AM
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