The Burden of Menopausal Depression on the Family

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Running head: MENOPAUSE, DEPRESSION AND THE FAMILY The Burden of Menopausal Depression on the Patient and Family McKendree College The Burden of Menopausal Depression on the Patient and Family Menopause is a normal biological event that occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop producing female hormones (e.g., estrogen and progesterone) and menstrual cycles end. Menopause is not a disease however its symptoms often mimic one. Menopause occurs with the final menstrual period and involves only one day (Beers & Berkow, 1999). The hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms associated with menopause occur during perimenopause, the transitional years before and after actual menopause. Perimenopause can last anywhere from a few to several years. The word menopause, when used in this document will be referring to menopause and perimenopause. It usually takes six to twelve months or longer of no menstrual bleeding (amenorrhea) before a woman can be certain that she has experienced menopause. Menopause should occur naturally, but can be induced surgically or by chemotherapy or radiation therapy (1999). Researchers report that more than 1 million women in the U.S. and 25 million women worldwide experienced menopause in the year 2000. Researchers also report that there are an estimated 470 million postmenopausal women worldwide, a number that is expected to increase to 1.2 billion by 2030 (The North American Menopause Society, 2003). Menopause can occur from the mid 40’s to the late 50’s. The average age of natural menopause is 51. Menopause that begins before the age 40 is considered premature and is usually associated with surgery or other medical intervention. Conventional menopause can be a very complex experience that involves physiologic, psychologic, and social aspects of a woman’s life and her family’s life. The

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