Depressive symptoms and their relationship with endogenous reproductive hormones and sporadic anovulation in premenopausal women

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Annals of Epidemiology


Depression, Depressive symptoms, Menstrual cycle, Ovulation, Reproductive hormones, Mental health, Women's health


Purpose To determine whether depressive symptoms are associated with ovulation or reproductive hormone concentrations in eumenorrheic women without a reported diagnosis of clinical depression. Methods A prospective cohort of 248 regularly menstruating women, aged 18 to 44 years (27.3 ± 8.2) were evaluated for depressive symptoms at baseline using the 20-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale and categorized dichotomously (<16, no depressive symptoms [92%] vs. ≥16, depressive symptoms [8%]). Serum concentrations of estradiol, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone were measured up to eight times per cycle for up to two menstrual cycles. Linear mixed models estimated associations between depressive symptoms and hormone concentrations, whereas generalized linear mixed models assessed their relationship with sporadic anovulation. Results No significant associations were identified between depressive symptoms and reproductive hormone levels (all P > .05) or the odds of sporadic anovulation (adjusted odds ratio, 1.1; 95% confidence interval, [0.02–5.0]), after adjusting for age, race, body mass index, perceived stress level, and alcohol consumption. Conclusions Despite reported associations between mental health and menstrual cycle dysfunction, depressive symptoms were not associated with reproductive hormone concentrations or sporadic anovulation in this cohort of regularly menstruating women with no recent (within 1 year) self-reported history of clinical depression.


Published by Elsevier Inc. This work was supported by Intramural Research Program of the National Insitute of Health, National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland (Contract # HHSN275200403394C).