Menstrual dysfunction prior to onset of psychiatric illness is reported more commonly by women with bipolar disorder than by women with unipolar depression and healthy controls.
ABSTRACT Preliminary reports suggest that menstrual cycle irregularities occur more commonly in women with bipolar disorder and unipolar depression than in the general population. However, it is not always clear whether such abnormalities, reflecting disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, are caused by psychotropic treatments or associated with the disorder per se.
The prevalence of early-onset (within the first 5 postmenarchal years) menstrual cycle dysfunction (menstrual cycle length unpredictable within 10 days or menstrual cycle length<25 days or >35 days) occurring before onset of psychiatric illness was compared between subjects with DSM-IV bipolar disorder participating in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder (STEP-BD) and subjects with DSM-IV unipolar depression or no psychiatric illness participating in the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles. Data from the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles were gathered from September 1995 to September 1997, and data from STEP-BD were gathered from November 1999 to May 2001.
Early-onset menstrual cycle dysfunction was reported to have occurred in 101/295 women with bipolar disorder (34.2%), 60/245 women with depression (24.5%), and 134/619 healthy controls (21.7%). Women with bipolar disorder were more likely to have early-onset menstrual cycle dysfunction than healthy controls (chi2=16.58, p<.0001) and depressed women (chi2=6.08, p=.01), while depressed women were not more likely to have early-onset menstrual cycle dysfunction than healthy controls (chi2=0.81, p=.37).
Compared with healthy controls and women with unipolar depression, women with bipolar disorder retrospectively report early-onset menstrual dysfunction more commonly prior to onset of bipolar disorder. Future studies should evaluate potential abnormalities in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis that are associated with bipolar disorder.
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ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests gender differences may exist in bipolar disorder, and a review of the literature shows that more women than men may experience rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. The issues contributing to these gender differences are unknown; a number of case reports have indicated the possibility of mood changes secondary to hormonal influences during the menstrual cycle. We sought to examine the relationship between bipolar disorder and menstrual cycle-related mood changes. To our knowledge, this is one of the largest samples in the literature addressing this issue. Outpatient women with bipolar disorder I, bipolar disorder II, and not otherwise specified (NOS), between the ages of 18 and 45, were evaluated. The National Institute of Mental Health Life Chart Method-p (NIMH-LCM-p) was used for daily mood ratings of depression and mania. Repeated measures of ANOVA and t tests were conducted separately for depressive and for manic symptom scores. One hundred nineteen women met the age criterion, and only 41 women met the rest of the inclusion criteria. In this sample of 41 women, there was no significant relationship between phases of the menstrual cycle (early and late follicular and early and late luteal phases) and changes in depression or mania. In an exploratory examination, 8 of 41 women showed a numerically higher mean depression score in the luteal phase than in the follicular phase; 5 of 41 women showed a numerically higher mean mania score in the luteal phase than in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Different phases of the menstrual cycle were unrelated to depression and mania in a heterogeneous group of women with bipolar disorder. Prospective studies are needed to identify a vulnerable subpopulation in a homogeneous clinical sample.Journal of Women's Health 05/2008; 17(3):473-8. DOI:10.1089/jwh.2007.0466 · 1.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines are common disorders that are often associated with disturbances in menstrual function in adolescent girls. Women with untreated epilepsy are more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles than are nonepileptic controls, indicating that the disease itself plays a role in the etiology of these reproductive abnormalities. In addition, many girls with these disorders require chronic maintenance treatment with agents that may perturb the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Valproate is a highly effective antiepileptic drug used widely to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines. Valproate induces features of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in approximately 7% of women. Girls with epilepsy, and possibly bipolar disorder, appear particularly susceptible to developing PCOS features on valproate, perhaps on account of the relative immaturity of their hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axes. Antipsychotics are highly effective drugs used widely to treat adolescents with bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, and behavioral disturbances. Some, but not all of the antipsychotic, induce hyperprolactinemia, which may result in oligo- or amenorrhea. Prolonged amenorrhea in association with hyperprolactinemia incurs significant risks for bone health in adolescent girls. Because of the potential reproductive health risks associated with use of specific antiepileptic drugs and selective antipsychotics, these agents are vital treatments for adolescents with severe illnesses. Use of these agents should be considered and weighed against the risk of using alternative agents, which have their own side effects, or not treating these serious neurologic and psychiatric disorders.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/2008; 1135:219-29. DOI:10.1196/annals.1429.030 · 4.31 Impact Factor