Menstrual problems are common among premenopausal women and become more frequent with increasing reproductive age, especially just before and during perimenopause.  In the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a multisite study of menopause and aging, information regarding menstrual history was collected in a total of 934 premenopausal and early perimenopausal women between the ages of 42 and 52.  History of major depression was associated with an increased likelihood of heavy bleeding (odds ratio, 1.89), adjusting for recent major depression, menopause status, and other confounding factors. History of depression was not associated with other abnormal bleeding or premenstrual symptoms. Future longitudinal studies are needed to explore why past depression increases the likelihood of subsequent heavy menstrual bleeding in midlife women.  One possibility is that irregular fluctuations in estrogen levels may be responsible for both abnormal menstrual bleeding, as well as the dysregulation of neurotransmitter systems that mediate depressive symptoms.

Bromberger JTSchott LLMatthews KA, et al. Association of past and recent major depression and menstrual characteristics in midlife: Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.  Menopause 2012 Apr 16. [Epub ahead of print]