Patterns of mood changes throughout the reproductive cycle in healthy women without premenstrual dysphoric disorders

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Abstract

Objective

The cyclic nature of female reproductive function is a natural part of life accompanied by changes in several physical and psychological phenomena. The aim of our study was to investigate the fluctuation of psychological symptoms throughout the female reproductive cycle in healthy, non-PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) women.

Method

63 psychiatrically healthy, non-PMDD women with normal regular menstrual cycles and not using hormonal contraceptive methods participated in the study. Participants completed the PRISM (Prospective Record of the Impact and Severity of Menstrual Symptoms) calendar every night for three cycles and in addition they completed several other psychometric measures (Symptom Distress Checklist-SCL-51, State Trait Anxiety Inventory-STAI, Zung Self-rating Depression Scale-ZSDS, Eating Attitude Test-EAT, Mind and Body Cathexis Scale) at three predefined days of the first cycle. Based on an at least 66% increase in physical symptoms from the late follicular to the late luteal phase on the PRISM, subjects were assigned to luteal phase physical symptoms (LPPS) and no luteal phase physical symptoms (nonLPPS) groups. The association of psychometric scores with timing within the cycle and with physical symptoms was analysed.

Results

Significant changes in psychometric scores over time were observed for STAI state anxiety, SCL anxiety, SCL somatization, SCL depression, SCL obsessive-compulsive, SCL interpersonal sensitivity, SCL total, and ZSDS. A significant time × LPPS grouping interaction emerged in case of the SCL somatization subscale and the ZSDS. LPPS grouping was associated with only the interpersonal sensitivity subscale of the SCL51.

Conclusion

Our results indicate that there is a significant increase in psychological symptoms related to neuroticism and depression from the late follicular to the late luteal phase in a healthy, non-PMDD female population. Although our results may not have direct clinical significance, since the statistically significant increases in psychometric scores are still small, it is an important finding that there is a consistent pattern observable in the fluctuation of psychological symptoms accompanying the female reproductive cycle.

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