The effect of trauma history on mood sensitivity to perimenopausal estradiol fluctuation
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A woman’s risk of depression increases 2-3 times during the menopause transition (i.e., ‘perimenopause’), which constitutes the five or so years leading up the last menstrual period. It is hypothesized that the increased estradiol fluctuation, which accompanies the menopause transition, may play a role. Women who display an increased sensitivity to such fluctuations may be particularly vulnerable to developing depression during this time. A history of abuse has been found to predict increased sensitivity to hormonal fluctuation across the menstrual cycle; however, it has never been examined as a predictor of mood sensitivity to the hormonal fluctuations associated with the menopause transition. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to examine perimenopausal estradiol fluctuation in relation to weekly mood in women with and without a history of sexual or physical abuse. Fifteen perimenopausal women were recruited, 9 with a history of sexual or physical abuse, and 6 without. Participants provided twelve weekly urine samples for the measurement of a metabolite of estradiol, and completed two scales to measure mood and depressive symptoms. Results suggested a nonsignificant interaction between trauma history, absolute change of E1G, and the direction of change on CES-D and PANAS-X scores. After further examination, there was a significant interaction when examining those with a history of early abuse (before age 13), on CES-D and PANAS-X scales. Therefore, women with a history of early abuse, during perimenopause, may be at greater risk of depressed mood due to E1G fluctuation.