No matter how many hearts and flowers are delivered on Valentine’s Day, many young mothers will not be smiling. For reasons that they likely don’t understand, they are depressed and can’t seem to climb out of a very deep and dark abyss.
According to a recent report from the United States Preventative Services Task Force and reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 10 percent of new mothers experience clinical depression which can be “lasting and serious.” This federal task force has recommended that women who have recently given birth be screened for depression.
While this mandate for screening has been applauded by many healthcare providers, some have more questions about the treatment which can be prescribed from this diagnosis.
“What are they going to do when they determine the woman is depressed?” asked Terri DeNeui, Founder of EVEXIAS Medical Centers.
Therein lies the challenge.
Postpartum Depression is Debilitating
Terri DeNeui, DNP, ACNP, APRN-BC has treated young mothers for depression and understands the challenge this represents. She is a board certified acute care nurse practitioner and founder of EVEXIAS Medical Centers (formerly EVEXIAS Medical Centers), a full-service, multi-location facility focused on a medically integrated approach to diagnosing and treating hormonal imbalances.
“Before starting hormone clinics, I was an obstetric nurse, worked in high-risk hospitals in Dallas and ran a delivery and postpartum department,” Terri noted. “We see this depression kicking in about a week to two weeks after delivery. It’s really because of the abrupt decline in hormones and specifically progesterone.”
“It’s a debilitating condition and very confusing for a new mother,” she said. “Plus, women who have had postpartum depression with a pregnancy are very likely to experience this in subsequent pregnancies.”
“The immediate treatment is to restore progesterone levels,” she said.
“I work with a hormonal health guru whose name is Dr. Neal Rouzier,” Terri noted. “He’s an emergency medical doctor in California and he’s very passionate about screening for postpartum depression, as I am, and I think it’s amazing that this task force is making the recommendation. The problem is: What will general practitioners, who don’t understand hormone replacement therapy, DO with these patients? This is where my passion and education lies.”
For more information about hormone replacement therapy.
Antidepressants or Psychotherapy?
Most general practitioners prescribe antidepressants, psychotherapy or both for young women who might be presenting symptoms of depression. Terri thinks this might be misguided.
“Unfortunately, the antidepressants, which can truly be life-saving in many cases, are really only a ‘Band-aid,’ she noted. “They are not fixing the root causes of depression. Getting to the root cause involves dealing with that abrupt decline in hormones – namely progesterone.”
“Dr. Rouzier shares a story about a businesswomen who was 8-weeks postpartum and when he did the analysis he found that she was suicidal. She came in seeking help because she was so depressed she felt like taking her life and her baby’s life. This was a corporate businesswoman. She was confused and she didn’t understand the situation.”
“Thank goodness, Dr. Rouzier was on staff there,” she said. “He was able to very quickly recognize what was happening to her and he gave her a high dose of progesterone and he said, ‘you are going to feel better within thirty-minutes’ and lo and behold, he checked back with her in an hour and she said, ‘what did you give me?’ The patient felt completely different. He put her on a prescription for hormones for the next 8 weeks and had her check in with her gynecologist over this time period.”
“Hormones play such a key role in brain function,” Terri noted. “When hormones are out of balance for a woman in this time of her life – postpartum, perimenopause and menopause stages – some of the most profound life changes occur. Many women have said, ‘something has taken over my body and brain…I’m irrational, but I just can’t help it.’”
A Valentine’s Gift That Will Change Your Life
With Valentine’s Day coming soon, sadly many young Mom’s don’t feel particularly sexy or even loved. What can be done to change this?
“Sometimes, holidays like Valentine’s Day makes it even worse for women,” she said. “We women hold ourselves in high regard and if we’re not ‘up to snuff’ not only do we feel bad but we beat ourselves up about it. We’re not being ‘the ideal woman’; we’re not being ‘the perfect wife or the perfect mother’, and this just exacerbates the problem and can send women further in a funk.”
“If you’re feeling the blues and feel like you have no reason to exist, maybe you can’t focus (by the way, this is not just found among postpartum women, but is very prevalent among many women in their 30’s and 40’s), these are all symptoms of hormone decline. In perimenopause years, this is typically caused by a deficiency in estrogen and testosterone and in postpartum women it is typically a deficiency in progesterone.”
“Women who are experiencing these feeling should be checked out by a hormone professional,” she said. “This is someone who is really well-versed in hormones. Unfortunately, even specialists such as OB/GYN’s are seldom trained in this therapy. For those of us practitioners who wanted to find out more about how hormones can affect the body, we had to seek out additional training, to find out what the best treatment is for women.”
The greatest Valentine’s gift is happiness and relief from depression. There is help. If you or a member of your family is experiencing the symptoms of depression noted above, click here to set an appointment with EVEXIAS Medical Centers (formerly Hormonal Health and Wellness). You can also can also call 817-328-8376 or 469-402-1877.