Women face unique emotional issues across their life span.
Postpartum depression is characterized by depression after delivering a baby that is ongoing and more severe than passing feelings of sadness. Symptoms include persistent feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in the baby or thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby. Women with these symptoms should seek immediate treatment from their doctor.
Postpartum depression can begin anytime within the first year after childbirth. The cause is not known. Hormonal and physical changes after birth and the stress of caring for a new baby may play a role. Women who have had depression are at higher risk. Treatment may include medication and therapy.
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her period stops. It usually occurs naturally, most often after age 45. Menopause happens because the woman's ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for one year.
Changes and symptoms can start several years earlier. They include:
- A change in periods - shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, with more or less time in between
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Trouble sleeping
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Difficulty maintaining a mental focus
Some symptoms require treatment. Talk to your doctor about how to best manage menopause. Make sure the doctor knows your medical history and your family medical history. This includes whether you are at risk for heart disease, osteoporosis or breast cancer.