Vasomotor symptoms are associated with depressive symptoms in community-dwelling older women

Berihun M. Zeleke, Robin J. Bell, Baki Billah, Susan R. Davis

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Objective: To assess the prevalence of, and factors associated with, moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms in community-dwelling older Australian women.Methods: A questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study was conducted amongst community-dwelling older women. Participants were recruited between April and August 2014 from a national database based on the electoral roll. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) tool. Vasomotor symptoms (VMS), vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), and pelvic floor symptoms were assessed using validated questionnaires. Women were provided a comprehensive list of psychotropic medications (antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers) to identify their use over the preceding month.Results: In all, 1,534 women completed the BDI-II. Overall, 34.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 31.8%-36.7%) of women had VMS, 6.3% (95% CI 5.2%-7.7%) had moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms (BDI-II score ≥20), 26.8% (95% CI 24.6%-29.1%) had used any psychotropic medication in the previous month, and 17.5% (95%CI: 15.6-19.5%) had taken an antidepressant.Moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were more common among women using antidepressants compared with nonusers (16.6% vs 4.3%; P < 0.001). Obesity (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.18, 95% CI 1.17-4.04), living in financially insecure housing (AOR 3.84, 95% CI 2.08-8.08), being a caregiver to another person (AOR 2.39, 95% CI 1.36-4.19), being a smoker (AOR 2.28, 95% CI 1.12-4.66), having VMS (AOR 1.67, 95% CI 1.03-2.62), having pelvic floor dysfunction (AOR 1.78, 95% CI 1.08-2.94), and having vaginal dryness during intercourse (AOR 1.84, 95% CI 1.06-3.22, P < 0.05) were positively and independently associated with moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms. Being currently partnered (AOR 0.57, 95% CI 0.33-0.97) and employed (AOR 0.38, 95% CI 0.16-0.92) were associated with a lower likelihood of depressive symptoms.Conclusions: In older women, depressive symptoms are common and are associated with social and financial insecurity, and with VMS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1371
Number of pages7
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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