Mass General Hospital

Harvard Medical School



In Brief: Group CBT for Perinatal Anxiety

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is well-established as a treatment for anxiety disorders; however, few studies have examined the efficacy of CBT specifically tailored to address perinatal anxiety. A recent pilot study has explored the use of a group CBT intervention. The group included 10 pregnant or postpartum women who were recruited from a hospital setting and […]

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Photo by Christoph Lehmann

SSRIs for Vasomotor Symptoms and Bone Health

Recent research has indicated that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be an effective option for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. However, it has been documented in some recent observational studies that SSRIs are associated with an increased risk of bone loss in older patients (2, 4). Since postmenopausal women are already […]

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Augmentation with Quetiapine (Seroquel) for Women with PMDD

For women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first line of pharmacological treatment. A significant body of evidence, including numerous double-blind, randomized studies, supports the effectiveness of SSRIs in reducing both the emotional, as well as physical symptoms, of PMS and PMDD. In general, women respond to low doses […]

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You Asked: Do Oral Contraceptives Cause Mood Swings or Depression?

Many women have concerns about the side effects of oral contraceptives (birth control pills). Potential side effects include bloating, breast tenderness, and weight gain. In addition, some women may experience depression or mood swings, side effects that may influence a woman’s decision to start taking an oral contraceptive (OC), particularly if she has a history […]

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Placentophagy: More Myth Than Miracle

Placentophagy.  That’s a fancy term for describing what some women do after giving birth.  Placentophagy refers to the act of eating the placenta after giving birth.  Almost all non-human placental mammals ingest their placentas after birth, and over the last decade, we have seen more women considering this option.  Health advocates claim that various hormones […]

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In Brief: Some Menopausal Symptoms Worse in Women with Depression

Nearly a third of postmenopausal women experience vaginal changes, including dryness, itching and pain during sex — symptoms related to the declining levels of estrogen occurring during the transition to menopause.  According to a study which included 745 postmenopausal women with vaginal symptoms, it appears that these symptoms may be more disruptive for women who […]

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Credit: Pregnant Woman from Wikimedia Commons

Screening for Perinatal Anxiety Using PASS – the Perinatal Anxiety Screening Scale

There is a growing body of literature which indicates that anxiety symptoms are common during pregnancy and the postpartum period.  Anxiety during pregnancy places the woman at greater risk for postpartum depression and may also affect pregnancy outcomes.   The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that clinicians screen women at least once […]

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Lithium: Women More Vulnerable to Adverse Effects Than Men

Lithium is one of the most effective treatments for patients with bipolar disorder.  Its use, however, is limited by its potential for serious long-term adverse events, including renal, thyroid, and parathyroid dysfunction. A recent study published in Lancet helps to put these various risks into perspective and indicates that women may be more vulnerable to […]

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NAMS Position Statement on the Use of Hormone Therapy in Women Over 65

Since the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported that the risks of menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) outweighed its benefits, there has been a significant reduction in the use of HRT.  However, since that time, studies have suggested that many peri- and postmenopausal women experience significant symptoms for many years and that certain populations of women […]

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Antidepressants and Pregnancy: Are Some SSRIs Safer Than Others?

  Over the last decade, numerous studies on the reproductive safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been published.  However, these studies, using different methodologies and studying different populations, have often yielded conflicting results.  The extensive data now available in the medical literature can be difficult for clinicians and researchers to sort through. As […]

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