-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In women with bipolar
disorder, premenstrual mood changes are associated with more
depressive episodes and more severe symptoms, researchers have
The findings from the study of nearly 300 women offer evidence
that premenstrual flare-ups of mood symptoms may be a clinical
marker predicting greater severity of bipolar disorder in
reproductive-age women, said Dr. Rodrigo Dias and colleagues at
Massachusetts General Hospital.
The bipolar women with pre-mentrual mood changes had more
episodes of depression and worse symptoms the following year,
compared with bipolar women without premenstrual mood changes, the
The study is published in the Feb. 15 online edition of the
American Journal of Psychiatry.
Through their action on the central nervous system, estrogen and
other reproductive hormones influence mood, the researchers
explained. The time period following childbirth and the menopause
transition are also times when women with bipolar disorder are more
vulnerable to relapse.
In general, the way fluctuating hormone levels influence mood
may result in greater mood instability among these patients, the
study authors noted.
"The results reinforce the importance of identifying mood fluctuations across the menstrual cycle in women with bipolar disorder," Dias said in a journal news release. "The women with premenstrual mood changes may benefit from more intensive monitoring. The value of antidepressants isn't clear, since on the one hand, these women were less likely to be taking antidepressants and might have benefited from them. But on the other hand, antidepressants can trigger manic symptoms in bipolar patients."
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