Effects of the menstrual cycle on bipolar disorder
Article first published online: 31 OCT 2013
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Special Issue: Guest Editors – Ayşegül Özerdem and Natalie Rasgon
Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 22–36, February 2014
How to Cite
Effects of the menstrual cycle on bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord 2014: 16: 22–36. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd., , .
- Issue published online: 28 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 31 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 2 AUG 2012
- bipolar disorder;
- menstrual cycle;
- premenstrual dysphoric disorder;
- premenstrual syndrome
Several lines of research suggest that reproductive events may affect the course of bipolar disorder (BD) in some women. With respect to the menstrual cycle, the focus has been on dysphoric symptoms [e.g., premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)], and the exacerbation of depression, in the premenstrual phase. This article reviews the literature on the potential effects of the menstrual cycle on BD.
A systematic search for published case reports and research studies available through March, 2013 was conducted. Several combinations of search terms were entered into PubMed and PsycInfo.
Overall, 25 case reports, ten retrospective studies, and 11 prospective studies were identified. The majority (64%) of case reports involved hypomanic or manic episodes in the premenstrual phase. Retrospective results suggest that 25–77% and 15–27% of women with BD meet the criteria for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and PMDD, respectively. Menstrual cycle-related mood changes were reported by 64–68% of women with BD in retrospective studies, and were displayed by 44–65% of women in prospective studies.
Although research has focused on the premenstrual phase to the neglect of the periovulatory phase, it appears that a subgroup of women with BD, possibly those with hormonal sensitivity, experience menstrual cycle effects on depressive, hypomanic, and manic episodes. These phase-episode effects appear to be heterogeneous and may have implications for treatment. Whether they might best be described using course specifiers, similar to postpartum onset and rapid cycling, or as diagnostic entities, like PMDD, requires further study.