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Author Archive | MGH Center for Women's Mental Health

Chasteberry for PMS and PMDD

  Chasteberry, the fruit of the chaste tree or Vitex agnus castus, has long been touted as a remedy for a range of reproductive problems, including premenstrual symptoms or PMS.  Two recent publications have reviewed data on the use of Vitex agnus castus (VAC) for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) […]

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Hormonal Contraceptives and Risk for Depression and Suicide

  Many women have concerns about the side effects of hormonal contraceptives, including oral contraceptives, depot preparations, and hormonal IUDs and vaginal rings.  Potential side effects include bloating, breast tenderness, and weight gain. In addition, some women may experience depression or mood swings, side effects that may be particularly concerning to women with histories of […]

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Weekly Roundup for March 9, 2018: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

The first publication on the list, from Letourneau and colleagues, is a thorough review of interventions for antenatal and postpartum depression, many of them leading to improvements in parenting and child development.   Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD The effect of perinatal depression treatment for mothers on parenting and child development: A systematic review. Letourneau NL, […]

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In Brief: Carbs in Your Diet Do Not Increase Your Risk for PMS

  It is recommended that women with premenstrual symptoms (PMS) switch to a diet including more complex carbohydrates and less sugar in order to alleviate their symptoms.  While these dietary modifications may be helpful, a recent study indicates that carbohydrates in the diet is not associated with a woman’s risk of developing PMS symptoms.   In this […]

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Are Mood and Anxiety Disorders More Common in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder, affecting about 10% of reproductive aged women. It is also the most common cause of infertility in younger women; however, many women are unaware they have PCOS until they experience problems with fertility.  In our clinic, where we see women with mood and anxiety disorders, many […]

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Perinatal Suicide: Highest Risk Occurs at 9 to 12 Months Postpartum

  Even as perinatal mood and anxiety disorders have garnered more attention over the past several years, the most feared consequence of these disorders, suicide, remains a phenomenon that requires greater understanding. While suicide is a leading cause of death in perinatal women, suicide during pregnancy or the postpartum period is often underreported and under-researched. […]

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Worse Pregnancy Outcomes in Women with More Chronic Depressive Symptoms

Over the last decade we have seen multiple studies which have demonstrated an association between the use of antidepressants during pregnancy and increased risk of certain adverse outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight. But we have also seen quite a few studies which suggest that untreated maternal depression or anxiety may contribute to […]

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Weekly Roundup for February 23, 2018: Recent Publications in Women’s Mental Health

Lupattelli and colleagues, analyzing data from the prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, look at the impact of prenatal SSRI exposure on children’s behavior.  Another study documents the deleterious effects of valproic acid exposure on children’s cognitive development (Elkjær et al, 2018). And a handful of studies looking at screening for perinatal depression and […]

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Neural Tube Defects and Low Carb Diets During Pregnancy

  Because folate deficiency in pregnant women has been associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, including anencephaly and spina bifida, it is recommended that all women take folic acid supplements during pregnancy.  In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required (since 1998) the addition of folic acid to many enriched […]

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