Estrogen-Based Hormone Therapy for Depression Related to Reproductive Events

Alison Myoraku, Thalia Robakis, Natalie Rasgon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


PurposeIn this review, we provide an overview of recent literature on the use of estrogen-based hormone therapy to treat depression related to reproductive events, like postpartum and perimenopause. Women are two to four times more likely to become depressed in the perimenopausal stage of life and as many as 14.5% of women develop postpartum depression. It is hypothesized that these depressive symptoms are a result of fluctuations in hormone levels during these windows of vulnerability. To broaden treatment options beyond psychotherapy and antidepressants, researchers considered the role that estrogen-based hormone therapy can play during these periods of fluctuation. Recent findingsResearch on the use of estrogen-based therapy to treat depression in premenstrual syndrome, postpartum, perimenopause, and postmenopause is varied and even contradictory at times. Overall, literature suggests that the right combination, dose, and duration of estrogen therapy can have positive effects on depressive symptoms related to reproductive events. SummaryIn the past, estrogen-based hormone therapy has faced controversy regarding safety and efficacy, but researchers have since conducted trials that resulted in improved mood symptoms without significant side effects or risks. However, many experts caution against long-term use of estrogen therapy and emphasize the importance of prescribing a dose and method of delivery that best suits each individual patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-424
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Estrogen-based hormone therapy
  • Perimenopausal
  • Postmenopausal
  • Postpartum


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