London: Menopause at an older age lowers the risk of depression for women in later life, says a new study.
The study found that menopause at 40 or older compared with premature menopause was associated with a decreased risk for depression.
Older age at menopause and a longer reproductive period mean a longer exposure to endogenous (produced within the body's cells) sex hormone estrogens.
"This meta-analysis suggests a potentially protective effect of increasing duration of exposure to endogenous estrogens as assessed by age at menopause as well as by the duration of the reproductive period,” the researchers said.
"The findings could have a significant clinical effect by allowing for the identification of a group of women at higher risk for depression who may benefit from psychiatric monitoring or estrogen-based therapies," said Eleni Petridou from National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, and colleagues.
The findings are based on review and analysis of 14 studies that represented nearly 68,000 women.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.