Hormone Effects on Responses to Stress (HERS)

Women are at an increased risk of experiencing depression and are also at risk for disorders specifically related to female reproductive changes, including postpartum depression, perimenopausal depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Changes in the sex hormone estrogen are thought to be involved in causing these reproductive mood disorders and may partly explain the increased risk for depression in women overall.


The purpose of the HERS study is to investigate how estrogen influences mood and the ways women respond to emotional information in daily life. In this way, we hope to improve the treatment of depression in women.



We are currently analyzing data and hope to share results soon! 


Fluctuating Estrogen and Menopausal Mood (FEMM)

The menopause transition or ‘perimenopause’ represents the 5-6-year transition from reproductively capable menstrual cycles to the end of menstruation. Women are 3 times more likely to develop depression during this time, and there is a two to four-fold increase in the risk of clinically significant depressive symptoms during menopause. Perimenopausal women are also nine times more likely to experience suicidal ideation compared with pre- or postmenopausal women or aged-matched men. It has been proposed that this trend of depression vulnerability during the menopause transition may result from a hypersensitivity to the extreme estrogen fluctuations that occur during this time.

The primary purpose of the FEMM study was to directly examine the role that increased sensitivity to estrogen fluctuation plays in the presentation of perimenopausal depression. We expect that the FEMM study will better inform women and their health care providers of the experiences of the menopause transition, while also providing valuable information for the development of effective treatments for this disorder.



We are incredibly grateful to the women of Saskatchewan who have participated in the FEMM Study, which was officially completed in February 2019. We are currently analysing the data to shed some light to this important issue! Please check back in the fall of 2019, when we hope to have some exciting results to share!