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Turk Psikiyatri Derg. 2006 Winter;17(4):296-304.

[Does menstrual cycle affect mood disorders?].

[Article in Turkish]

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This paper will present a review of the literature on the relationship between the menstrual cycle and mood disorders.


We performed a MEDLINE search of the Turkish and English language literature for the years 1955-2005 using the following terms: depression, bipolar disorder, premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual exacerbation, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, menstrual cycle, and suicide. Earlier reports had shown higher psychiatric admission during premenstrual period of the menstrual cycle and higher prevalence of suicide attempts during specific phase of the menstrual cycle.


Women of reproductive age with mental disorders may experience a fluctuating course of illness over the menstrual cycle. Some data suggest that for a subset of women there is a relationship between phases of the menstrual cycle and increased vulnerability for an exacerbation of ongoing mood disorders (especially major depressive episode) or the development of a new episode. The question of whether the direction of mood shifts in the course of bipolar disorder is associated with specific cycle phase has been raised, albeit with limited and inconsistent data.


There are a limited number of studies to elucidate these relationships and most of them lack prospective assessments, include the small number of patients and use unreliable methods of determining menstrual-cycle phases. Additionally, many reports do not specify whether the exacerbations reflect an aggravation of the underlying mood disorder or a new subset of symptoms that occur only during certain phases of the menstrual cycle. Further studies should provide more information about the contribution of premenstrual fluctuation or worsening to increased illness severity of mood disorder and treatment resistance.

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