Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 416–424 | Cite as

Estrogen-Based Hormone Therapy for Depression Related to Reproductive Events

  • Alison Myoraku
  • Thalia Robakis
  • Natalie RasgonEmail author
Mood Disorders (CB Nemeroff and J Newport, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Mood Disorders



In 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 findings

Research 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.


In 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.


Estrogen-based hormone therapy Perimenopausal Postpartum Postmenopausal Depression 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Dr. Rasgon reports other from Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, outside the submitted work.

Alison Myoraku and Thalia Robakis declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and informed consent

This article does contain studies performed by the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Myoraku
    • 1
  • Thalia Robakis
    • 1
  • Natalie Rasgon
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford UniversityPalo AltoUSA

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