Trauma & the reproductive lifecycle in women Academic Article uri icon

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  • Women are at significantly higher risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than men, resulting in increased psychosocial burden and healthcare related costs. Recent research has shown complex interactions between the impact of traumatic experiences, and the reproductive lifecycle in women. For example, women suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) who also report a history of sexual or physical abuse are more likely to present with different neuroendocrine reactivity to stressors, when compared to premenstrual dysphoric disorder subjects without prior history of trauma or abuse or non-premenstrual dysphoric disorder subjects. In addition, women with a history of abuse or trauma may experience re-emergence of symptoms during pregnancy. Lastly, females who experience miscarriage may present with even higher prevalence rates of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. In this manuscript we examine the existing data on gender differences in post-traumatic stress disorder, with particular focus on psychological and physiological factors that might be relevant to the development of symptoms after exposure to traumatic events associated with the reproductive life cycle. Current options available for the treatment of such symptoms, including group and counselling therapies and debriefing are critically reviewed.


  • Born, Leslie
  • Phillips, Shauna Dae
  • Steiner, Meir
  • Soares, Claudio N

publication date

  • October 2005