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Depressive disorders specific to women

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This specific group of symptoms (defined in DSM IV) that affects 3-5% of women and occurs during most menstrual cycles, it is separate from the more common PMS[1].





Post Partum Blues

50-80% of mothers experience this transient period of mild depression, mood instability, anxiety following birth that can last up to 10 days post partum[1].





Post Partum Depression

10% of mothers develop post partum depression, where symptoms of major depressive episode that occur within 4 weeks of birth, lasting 2-6 months. These may be augmented by negative social factors, stressful life events[1]. Screening tools such as the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale[5] can be helpful in practice.  There is new evidence that men can also suffer from post partum depression, a recent study showed that this occured in 2-4 % of men[4].




Other forms of depression specific to women

Depression may occur in women following other reproductive health problems such as infertility, hysterectomy, urinary incontinence, urogenital disorders[3].







1. Toronto Notes 2004: Review for the MCCQE. Eds: A. Molckovsky and KS Pirzada. Toronto Notes Publishing 2004, Toronto.

3. World Health Organization, Gender and Mental Health, Report June 2002.

4. Daniel DeNoon, Ramchandani, P. The Lancet, June 25, 2005; vol 365:pp 2201-2205

5. Renfrew County and District Health Unit, Pembroke Ontario. accessed October 13, 2005

All references for this section