Depressive syndrome in perimenopausal, menopausal 
and postmenopausal patients. An Italian multicentre observational study

R. Anniverno 1 , E. Gadler1 1 , R. Poli 2 , A. Bellomo 3 , A. Ventriglio 3 , A.M. Pacilli 4 , S. Barbieri 5 , O. Salemi 6 , E. Bondi 7 , 
A. Farina 8 , C. Mencacci 1 , Preclimacteric Depression Italian Group

1 Department of Neuroscience, “Fatebenefratelli e Oftalmico” Hospital, Milan, Italy; 2 Department of Psychiatry, Istituti Ospitalieri of Cremona, Italy; 3 Department of Medical Sciences, Psychiatry Unit, University of Foggia, Italy; 4 Psychiatry Unit, ASL CN1, Cuneo, Italy; 5 Mental Health Department, Azienda Socio-Sanitaria Territoriale, Voghera, Pavia, Italy; 6 Mental Health Department, Sant’Anna Hospital, Cantù, Como, Italy; 7  Psychiatry 1 Unit, Ospedale Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy; 8  Medical Affairs Department, Italfarmaco SpA, Milan, Italy


All women are at risk for developing somatic and psychiatric symptoms during their menopausal transitions, up to the occurrence of major depressive disorder. This study was aimed to evaluate and characterize the presence of a depressive status in a sample of perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal women. 

Materials and Methods

156 women with a diagnosis of depressive disorder under the DSM-IV-TR criteria, who spontaneously referred for a psychiatric evaluation during their perimenopausal, menopausal and postmenopausal stages, were enrolled in the study.


Patients (51.9 ± 4.2 years) were diagnosed with unipolar disorder, dysthymia, bipolar disorder and cyclothymia in 67.9, 14.4, 14.1 and 4.5 % of the cases, respectively. Axis I and II co-morbidities were present in 14.1 and 7.7 % of the patients, respectively. No significant differences in the prevalence of disorders and co-morbidities during the different climacteric stages were observed. The HAM-D, HAM-A, and BDI-II rating scale scores were 17.4 ± 7.4, 19.8 ± 9.6, and 26.8 ± 13.2, respectively, with severe or very severe symptoms in 39.7, 28.8 and 35.9% of the patients, respectively. The GCS scale showed depression in 44.2% and anxiety in 38.5% of the patients, with general, somatic, and vasomotor scores of 27.5 ± 11.3, 8.0 ± 4.8, and 2.6 ± 2.2, respectively. 


These results describe the psychopathological scenario of women who underwent a psychiatric evaluation during their different menopausal transitions. Although these results did not show any significant differences among those stages, they suggest a major psychiatric impairment, with several patients affected by severe disorders.

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