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Coping With Depression During Menopause

If there were one disease caused by biological factors that is very hard to deal with, it would be depression. Depression or the condition of feeling sad or despondent-characterized by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, and feelings of extreme sadness, dejection, melancholy, and hopelessness-is one of the visible symptoms of menopause especially for women.

Caused by the dropping of serotonin-a hormone in the brain that regulates a person’s mood-levels, depression has been linked to menopause because it has been observed that women who are on the verge of this phase experience intense mood fluctuations and severe episodes of sadness and confusion.

Experts say that depression is normal for menopausal women but it should be addressed properly so it wouldn’t lead to more serious health, emotional, and behavioral problems.


Studies show that 8 to 15 percent of menopausal women experience depression. Experts say that the end of menstruation or menopause triggers episodes of depression and sadness in most women because of drastic hormonal changes that are left unsettled or not addressed.

Various researches prove that women who have a history of mood disorders, those who have been depressed before-especially during 20s, those who have underwent surgical or operational procedures, those who are smoking, dealing with so many children, or those who have work that causes a lot of stress are more likely to develop depression during menopause.

Symptoms of depression during menopause include sleeping disorders, hot flushes, loss of energy or fatigue, irritability, anxiety, excessive feeling of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty in concentrating or confusion, decreased interest or pleasure in activities, drastic change in appetite, and two or more weeks of depressed mood that may lead to extreme restlessness and suicidal tendencies.


Although depression is a natural occurrence during menopausal years, experts say that this should not be neglected because it can lead to more episodes of fluctuating moods and physical implications.

Although it is hard to deal with because it involves emotional and hormonal factors, medical authorities agree that depression is treatable when addressed properly. Here are some suggestions and treatment options that can help you cope up with depression during menopause:

1. Consider depression treatments and medications. Seeking help if you are suffering from depression during menopausal years is the first step in curing the “disease.” Today, there are actually many effective and well-tolerated medications available depending on your need. Being an essential part of treating depression, antidepressant medications such as Selected Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) help to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Aside from antidepressants, therapies such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Estrogen Therapy can help in especially in early menopausal stages. Before taking in any of these, make sure that you have consulted your physician first so you can discuss the risks and benefits of such treatments and medications. Psychotherapy is also one effective way to combat menopausal depression.

With the help of trained social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists, you can learn how to cope up with the negative feelings over menopausal years. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT that teaches better ways of thinking and behaving and Interpersonal Therapy or IPT that helps the person communicate more effectively are available for you.

2. Schedule for a physical examination. As women grown older, physical changes emerge that lead to physical health problems. Getting a thorough physical examination is one way to know if you are about to experience any physical ailments caused by depressive symptoms.

3. Try out alternative medicines, herbal therapies or remedies, and dietary supplements. Organic and herbal medications have grown popular the years for its healing properties. Today, the most popular herb used to cure depression is St John’s Wort because it can help reduce effects of estrogen fluctuations.

Although many people attest to its effects, there have been no scientific studies that support the effectivity and safety of this alternative medicine. Before trying any of these herbal or organic products, make sure you inform your physician so further damage can be avoided especially if you are under any monitored medication.

4. Engage in physical activities or regular exercise. Experts agree that exercise helps treat depression by releasing your body’s mood-elevating hormones that leads to a feeling of accomplishment and enhanced self-esteem.

5. Start changing your diet. Dietary changes like eating a well balanced diet and regularly scheduled meals are known to help a lot in managing depression.

Dr Nathalie Fiset
24 Dec 2006

Dr Nathalie Fiset is a family doctor and a certified hypnotherapist. For more information go to: or

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Women Seek Cleavage and Comfort in Their Bras

Would you buy a bra that can be converted into a shopping bag? Or one which contains liquid that can keep you warm, or cool, depending on the weather? Probably not, but Japanese women are game.

When it comes to underwear, Japan is the land where high-tech meets quirky. Last year, Triumph International Japan launched a "shopping bag bra" - a lacy red bra which can be turned into a shopping bag. The padding in the bra cups doubles as extra fabric which can be held together with bra straps to create a bag.

For a step-by-step diagram, visit

Japanese underwear maker Wacoal Corporation also released its Kaiteki Navi range last year, which includes "climate-control bras and underwear". They contain liquid which cools the wearer in hot weather and heats up when it is cold outside.

When it comes to underwear, women here (Singapore) are less adventurous. In fact, when Triumph launched its Fresh Fabric T-Shirt bra, which has odour-repelling qualities, in 2004, sales were modest. Singapore women only demand two things from their bras - cleavage and comfort. Every major brand selling here says that its top-selling bras are the padded and push-up varieties.

In Europe, where women are more endowed, the trend is the opposite, with minimal padding preferred. Singaporean women like to dress sexily, which is why they want an additional boost. At Wacoal, 60% of the bras sold are padded.

Comfort is also key. When Triumph conducts focus groups, the women always say the "no matter what the purpose of the lingerie is, it must be comfortable". But here is the bad news: The law of gravity has deemed that "the more you try and push something together, the more the degree of comfort declines. Which is why the race to combine cleavage with comfort has meant that underwear manufacturers are now spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop bras that can give the bosom lift but won't make you squirm with pain.

One major breakthrough in recent years has been the use of microfibre, a man-made fine yarn which is soft and light yet holds the flesh in place. Triumph's top-selling One-Piece Bra for example, uses microfibre and is heat-pressed with glue to create a seemless finish. It was developed over eight years and is a collaboration between  the German-Swiss company's research labs in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.

A comment put it this way - A lot of people underestimate how much work goes into developing bras, but for the One-Piece Bra, thousands of reseacrhers, engineers, mechanics and marketing staff worked together. In fact R&D is spent to eliminate the number of elements that can annoy a woman.

Recent inventions include elastics which don't pinch the skin, two-way stretch foam cups that move with the wearer, and fabrics so soft that you forgot you are wearing a bra.

Over at Wacoal Corporation's Human Science Laboratories in Japan, Taiwan and China, engineers conduct experiments on how women's bodies react in different environments while wearing different materials. They also collate data on thousands of different female shapes and sizes to find out if the needs of women are changing. For example, a decade ago, the average Singaporean woman was a size 70B, while recent research shows that women here today are a more busty 75B.

One of Wacoal's most ground-breaking underwear invention last year was the Tummy Walker, a panty which puts pressure on selected muscles when the wearer walks, helping to tone up the hips, thighs and abdomen. Even home-grown lingerie manufacturers have got into the act, with Ero Lingerie creating Skin Cool, a range designed for Singapore's humid weather. It notes that the padding in conventional push-up bras is made from compressed foam and non-breatheable fabric, making them heavy and uncomfortable.

Skin Cool push-up bras have “thermal regulators” - small pores in the foam and use a more breatheable fabric so that air can move more freely. An experiment with one woman who wore the padded bra was on a treadmill for an hour and withih 15 minutes of stopping, the bra had dried up completely. Skin Cool now accounts for 80% of sales at Ero Lingerie, which stocks seven other international brands of ingerie.

An avid bra shopper who now owns at least 200 bras says she would rather $100 on a nice bra than a pair of shoes or blouse. She continue to say that she could be wearing an old blouse but if she is wearing a new ;ingerie which looks good and gives her a good shape, she feels confident both inside and outside.

Leong Su-Lin
The Straits Times
19 Jan 2007

This article is an abstract from The Straits Times - URBAN, January 4, 2007

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