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Compr Psychiatry. 2003 May-Jun;44(3):234-46.

Endocrine factors in the etiology of postpartum depression.

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  • 1Psychiatric Division, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


This article reviews the literature regarding endocrine factors postulated or presumed to be relevant in postpartum depression (PPD), a condition affecting at least 10% of childbearing women. The phenomenology and epidemiology of PPD are also described. Data suggest that parturition-related endocrine changes are causally implicated in PPD in a vulnerable subgroup of women. More specifically, studies by our group and others suggest a role for changes in estradiol and progesterone in precipitating mood symptoms among women with PPD. The mechanisms underlying such differential sensitivities remain undetermined. Future directions for research are explored.

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