October 22, 2013
1 min read

Higher serum testosterone linked to depression in white menopausal women

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During menopause, black women demonstrated a significantly greater risk for depression compared with white women, according to data presented at the conjoint meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

“However, we found that only in Caucasian women is there significantly increased risk for high depressive symptoms with each increasing testosterone quartile,” Lauren W. Milman, MD, fellow in the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania, told Endocrine Today.

The link between testosterone quartiles and depression scale was modified by race (P=.009), not by menopausal stage (P=.4), according to abstract data. Patients’ history of depression did not modify this association.

In the population-based longitudinal cohort of premenopausal women (n=436; aged 35 to 47 years), researchers measured serum testosterone levels and quartiles were defined using 1,299 observations from the premenopausal period. The women (218 white, 218 black) were also assessed for depression using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, according to data.

“There are certainly a number of variables that can influence the risk for depression in perimenopause. In particular, hormone parameters can be of interest in terms of understanding why there may be a difference in prevalence or increase in prevalence of depressive symptoms during this period. These data tell us there is an independent risk associated with depression and testosterone quartile,” Milman said.

The risk of a high depression score increased by 8% with each increasing testosterone quartile in white women, in that whites in the highest quartile of testosterone were 24% more likely to have depression compared with those in the lowest quartile of testosterone (incidence rate ratio [IRR]=1.08; 95% CI, 1.01-1.16), according to data.

“Potentially, further studies would help us delineate whether this is a predictive factor influencing the onset of depressive symptoms as well as possibly rethinking whether or not someone should be considered for such treatment as androgen replacement,” Milman said. – by Samantha Costa

For more information:

Milman LW. Abstract O-34. Presented at: the Conjoint Meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine 69th Annual Meeting; Oct. 12-17, 2013; Boston.

Disclosure: Milman reports no relevant financial disclosures.