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

Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.5). 02/2006; 67(2):297-304. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.v67n0218
Source: PubMed


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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    • "According to two studies, women suffering from bipolar disorder may have menstrual problems even before use of mood stabilizers (Rasgon et al., 2005; Joffe et al., 2006). For unipolar depression, the evidence is inconsistent (Rowland et al., 2002; Harlow et al., 2004; Joffe et al., 2006). However, the use of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors may potentially influence fertility, as the medication can decrease libido and increase the risk of spontaneous miscarriages (Williams et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed at determining the psychiatric morbidity of women undergoing infertility treatments, before and after treatment as compared with control women. The number of women hospitalized because of psychiatric disorders was obtained from the Hospital Discharge Register (1969-2006) in a cohort of women who purchased drugs for in vitro fertilization, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection or frozen embryo transfer treatments (n = 9175) in 1996-1998 in Finland and their controls (n = 9175). The age- and residence-matched controls were further adjusted in the analysis for socio-economic position and marital status. Women with infertility treatments had fewer hospitalizations due to depression, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder or mania, eating disorders, adjustment disorders and alcohol or other intoxicant abuse before their treatments than did controls. However, the difference was statistically significant only for psychotic disorders [Odds ratios (OR) 0.38, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.20-0.72]. Differences in hospitalization remained similar also during the 10-year post-treatment follow-up. The exceptions were increased risk of hospitalizations due to adjustment disorders (OR 3.43, 95% CI 1.03-11.4) and decreased risk of alcohol or other intoxicant abuse (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.25-0.75) among the women with infertility treatments. The infertile women who gave birth had fewer hospitalizations for all psychiatric diagnoses than did infertile women who did not have a baby. The difference was statistically significant for anxiety disorders (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.18-0.81), depression (OR 0.63, 95% CI 0.41-0.96) and alcohol or other intoxicant abuse (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.18-0.80). Hospitalizations among infertile women who did not have a baby and controls were similar, with the exception of significantly more hospitalizations for psychotic disorders among controls (OR 0.38, 95% CI 0.19-0.77). Women treated for infertility had less serious psychiatric morbidity leading to hospitalization than did the controls, both before and after treatments, suggesting a healthy patient effect. After treatments, the risk of hospitalization due to adjustment disorders was increased among the infertile women. Having a baby after infertility treatments was associated with fewer hospitalizations following psychiatric diagnosis.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · Human Reproduction

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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionEpidemiology and gender distribution of the bipolar spectrumGender differences in phenomenologyGender differences in course and outcomeGender differences in comorbidityBipolar disorder and the reproductive cycleTreatment of bipolar disorder in femalesSummaryReferences
    No preview · Chapter · May 2006
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