Vasomotor symptoms are associated with depressive symptoms

Vasomotor symptoms are associated with depressive symptoms in community-dwelling older women



To assess the prevalence of, and factors associated with, moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms incommunity-dwelling older Australian women.


A questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study was conducted amongst community-dwelling older women. Participants were recruited between April and August 2014 from a national database based on the electoral roll. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) tool. Vasomotor symptoms
(VMS), vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), and pelvic floor symptoms were assessed using validated questionnaires. Women were provided a comprehensive list of psychotropic medications (antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers) to identify their use over the preceding month.


In all, 1,534 women completed the BDI-II. Overall, 34.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 31.8%-36.7%) of women had VMS, 6.3% (95% CI 5.2%-7.7%) had moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms (BDI-II score >= 20), 26.8% (95% CI 24.6%-29.1%) had used any psychotropic medication in the previous month, and 17.5% (95%CI: 15.6-19.5%) had taken an antidepressant. Moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were more common among women using antidepressants compared with nonusers (16.6% vs 4.3%; P<0.001). Obesity (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.18, 95% CI 1.17-4.04), living in financially insecure housing (AOR 3.84, 95% CI 2.08-8.08), being a caregiver to another person (AOR 2.39, 95% CI 1.36-4.19), being a smoker (AOR 2.28, 95% CI 1.12-4.66), having VMS (AOR 1.67, 95% CI 1.03-2.62), having pelvic floor dysfunction (AOR 1.78, 95% CI 1.08-2.94), and having vaginal dryness during intercourse (AOR 1.84, 95% CI 1.06-3.22, P<0.05) were positively and independently associated with moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms. Being currently partnered (AOR 0.57, 95% CI 0.33-0.97) and employed (AOR 0.38, 95% CI 0.16-0.92) were associated with a lower likelihood of depressive symptoms.


In older women, depressive symptoms are common and are associated with social and financial insecurity, and with VMS.

Zeleke BM, MD, Bell RJ, MBBS, Billah B,  Davis SR. Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, Vol 24, No. 12.