Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst

Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst
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ISSN: 2167-1044


Overlap of Postnatal Depression and Postcoital Dysphoria in Women- Implications for Common Underlying Mechanisms

Mehta D, Schweitzer RD and Maczkowiack J

Postnatal depression is a common disorder occurring in 13% to 15% pregnant women and is associated with deleterious health outcomes for mother, infant and families. There is a subset of women with increased susceptibility to estrogen fluctuations which may represent an underlying risk factor for postnatal depression. Given the crosstalk between different endocrine systems, we interrogated whether hormonal sensitivity might influence other hormonal phases in women such as post-sex distress or postcoital dysphoria.

We assessed 1,801 women using questionnaires. Data analyses were carried out using SPSS Version 17.0. Women with postnatal depression had significantly higher rates of postcoital dysphoria (P-value=0.009, 99% CI of 0.007-0.012), this remained significant even after corrections for multiple testing. Women with postnatal depression reported higher rates of anxiety (P-value=2 × 10-6), depression (P-value=2.9 × 10-11), childhood sexual abuse (P-value=0.022), childhood physical abuse (P-value=0.001), childhood emotional abuse (P-value=0.000103), adult sexual abuse (p-value=0.001), physical abuse (P-value=0.000313) and emotional abuse (P-value=0.002).

Women with postnatal depression tended to have increased rates of postcoital dysphoria, implying a likely common vulnerability mechanism for the disorders. These findings have implications for preventive diagnosis and treatment.