Depression Screening Urged for Young Women With
FRIDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Young women with a
menopause-like condition called primary ovarian insufficiency
should be evaluated for depression, a new study suggests.
Women with the condition, called POI for short, stop producing
normal amounts of reproductive hormones, develop hot flashes,
typically become infertile and, in addition, face an increased risk
for depression. POI can develop as early as the teens or 20s,
according to the researchers, from the U.S. National Institutes of
The investigators evaluated 174 women with POI and found that 67
percent either currently had depression or had been clinically
depressed at least once in the past. That rate is more than twice
the rate found among women in general, the researchers noted.
The finding was released online in advance of publication in an
upcoming print issue of the
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Just why depression seems more prevalent among women with POI,
however, remains unclear. The theory that learning of a POI
diagnosis is what triggered depression in most women with the
condition was not supported by the study, which found that more
than 68 percent of the women became depressed before they were
What doctors should do, however, was made clear by the study,
according to one of the study's senior authors, Dr. Lawrence M.
Nelson, head of integrative and reproductive medicine at the U.S.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
"Because of the strong association with depression, our results indicate all women diagnosed with POI should be thoroughly evaluated for depression," Nelson said in an NIH news release.
"Simply asking patients if they are depressed is not sufficient," he added. "Primary care physicians should evaluate their patients with a diagnostic screening test to determine if treatment or referral to a mental health specialist for further evaluation is needed."
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development has more about
primary ovarian insufficiency.
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