The menstrual cycle as an acute set off for suicidal ideation


Within the US, suicide is between the second and seventh main reason for demise for females of reproductive age (10-54 years) (Heron, 2019). While people with despair and/or earlier suicidal ideation (SI) are recognized to be on the most threat, SI can fluctuate significantly over brief intervals of time (Kleiman et al., 2017). Analysis has subsequently tried to establish components that affect acute threat amongst these teams. Doable threat components have been recognized, equivalent to day by day unfavorable have an effect on (Gee et al., 2020), hopelessness, and loneliness (Kleiman et al., 2017); nonetheless, it’s difficult to determine whether or not these components simply correlate with SI or truly predict its prevalence. Furthermore, these components are equally various over time and, as such, are equally difficult to foretell.

The menstrual cycle has been proposed as a attainable acute threat issue for SI following cross-sectional proof of elevated hospitalisations throughout specific menstrual cycle phases (Saunders & Hawton, 2006). Menstrual issues (Kuehner & Nayman, 2021), together with premenstrual dysphoric dysfunction (PMDD) and premenstrual exacerbation (PME), additionally counsel that the menstrual cycle might be a set off for depressive signs, maybe on account of enhanced hormone sensitivity (Schweizer-Schubert et al., 2021). Potential research nonetheless are wanted to know how SI varies with the menstrual cycle amongst at-risk populations and to discover whether or not the menstrual cycle might be a helpful, time-varying predictor of acute suicide threat.

This research goals to evaluate day by day suicidal ideation (SI) and different affective signs alongside menstrual cycle part to discover two hypotheses: (1) the perimenstrual part will probably be related to larger SI and affective signs than all different phases; and (2) the periovulatory part will probably be related to the bottom SI and affective signs than all different phases.

Picture 1

Earlier analysis has urged that suicidal ideation might fluctuate all through totally different menstrual cycle phases [Figure by Sawyer (2023)]. View full measurement determine.


38 naturally biking ladies with suicidal ideation up to now month responded to day by day textual content messages asking whether or not they had menstrual bleeding that day. Primarily based on this info, researchers utilized ahead/backward counting (Day 1 is first day of menstrual bleed) to calculate menstrual cycle part:

  • Periovulatory (Day -15 to -12),
  • Perimenstrual (Day -3 to 2),
  • Midluteal (all days between periovulatory and perimenstrual), and
  • Midfollicular (all days between perimenstrual and subsequent periovulatory).

Individuals additionally rated seven gadgets from the Grownup Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire and eight gadgets from the Each day File of Severity of Issues (core signs of PMDD: depressed temper, hopeless, nugatory/responsible, anxiousness, temper swings, rejection sensitivity, anger/irritability, interpersonal battle) every day. They had been additionally requested to maintain their remedy use steady throughout the measurement interval.

The researchers carried out multilevel regression to match the day by day suicidal ideation (SI) and affective signs of every participant between every of their very own menstrual cycle phases (within-person evaluation). Separate analyses had been carried out to research whether or not ache influenced contributors’ reported symptom severity however no substantive modifications to the outcomes had been discovered.


Speculation 1: The perimenstrual part will probably be related to larger suicidal ideation (SI) and affective signs than all different phases.

  • The authors discovered that SI and all affective signs had been larger within the perimenstrual in contrast with the periovulatory part and all besides worthlessness/guilt had been larger within the perimenstrual in contrast with the midluteal part.
  • When evaluating the perimenstrual with the midfollicular part, solely anxiousness, temper swings, rejection sensitivity, anger/irritability, and interpersonal battle had been totally different (larger within the perimenstrual part).

Speculation 2: The periovulatory part will probably be related to the bottom suicidal ideation (SI) and affective signs than all different phases.

  • The researchers discovered that day by day SI was related between the periovulatory part and the midluteal and midfollicular phases.
  • Additionally, not one of the affective signs differed between the periovulatory and midluteal phases.
  • Despair, hopelessness, and worthlessness/guilt did differ between the periovulatory and midfollicular phases.

Total, the fashions predicted that menstrual cycle part might clarify 25% of the variation in day by day SI and between 10-30% of day by day affective signs.


Menstrual cycle part defined 25% of the variation in day by day suicidal ideation and between 10-30% of day by day affective signs within the 38 naturally biking ladies studied.


This potential research concluded that day by day suicidal ideation (SI) (and different affective signs) are exacerbated by the menstrual cycle, peaking within the perimenstrual part and reaching their lowest ranges within the periovulatory part.

Though this research explores longitudinal correlations, versus causal relationships, it gives proof that the menstrual cycle could also be a predictable candidate threat issue for acute suicide threat, which might be utilised in scientific observe. As well as, it gives additional justification for exploration of the causal relationship and underlying mechanisms.


The menstrual cycle might be a helpful time-varying predictor of acute suicide threat amongst at-risk populations.

Strengths and limitations

This research is strengthened by its use of potential day by day rankings, use of validated suicidal ideation (SI) and affective symptom measures, and the excessive response charge from contributors (89% of attainable day by day rankings had been accomplished). Nonetheless, there are additionally a variety of limitations that have to be thought-about. Primarily, the observational nature of this research and the deal with longitudinal correlations signifies that conclusions about causality can’t be drawn from any of those findings.

The facility of this research was restricted by the small pattern measurement (N=38), that means solely easy statistical fashions might be carried out. The pattern can also restrict the generalisability of the findings because it included solely these with past-month SI however and not using a latest suicide try and primarily white contributors with college-level schooling. Though participant remedy use was held steady all through the research, nearly half of the contributors had been taking SSRIs (selective serotonin reupake inhibitors) that are an efficient therapy for depressive signs and will subsequently doubtlessly cut back their variation throughout the menstrual cycle. Due to this fact, it’s unclear whether or not the identical patterns can be noticed throughout totally different severity ranges of suicide threat and inside different demographic teams.

The measurement interval was additionally comparatively brief (at the least one menstrual cycle) and, though an extended measurement interval might cut back the quantity of day by day rankings which can be accomplished on account of excessive participant burden, it will be helpful to look at the connection between day by day suicidal ideation (SI) and menstrual cycle part over an extended time period.


This research is restricted by the small pattern measurement. The observational nature of this research signifies that conclusions about causality can’t be drawn.

Implications for observe

Primarily, this research gives implications for future analysis on this discipline by offering a powerful case for additional exploration of the menstrual cycle as an acute threat issue amongst ladies of reproductive age with ongoing suicidal ideation (SI), in addition to figuring out the mechanisms that will underlie the connection. The authors of this research talk about hormone sensitivity as a attainable mechanism, whereby subgroups of ladies have an irregular response to regular hormonal modifications that happen all through the menstrual cycle. While some analysis has supported the hormone sensitivity speculation (Pope et al., 2017), there are different promising mechanisms that also needs to be thought-about, equivalent to irritation and genetics (Tiranini & Nappi, 2022). Establishing how the menstrual cycle might affect SI and different affective signs might present insights into attainable therapy growth to scale back the fluctuations in such signs.

Nonetheless, as this paper isn’t in a position to make any causal inferences relating to the mechanisms by means of which SI and affective signs fluctuate all through the menstrual cycle, there are restricted implications for observe at this stage. If future analysis gives assist for the menstrual cycle as an acute threat issue for SI, then it could be helpful for clinicians to think about the menstrual cycle when growing threat monitoring procedures and coping mechanisms with sufferers. Having an improved understanding of when SI severity could also be at its peak will probably be helpful for sufferers. This implies assist may be offered at acceptable occasions for ladies who expertise these exacerbations.


The menstrual cycle could also be helpful for clinicans to think about in threat monitoring and when growing coping mechanisms with sufferers. Additional analysis is required nonetheless to know how the menstrual cycle and suicidal ideation are associated.

Assertion of pursuits



Major paper

Owens, S. A., Schmalenberger, Ok. M., Bowers, S., Rubinow, D. R., Prinstein, M. J., Girdler, S. S., & Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A. (2023). Cyclical exacerbation of suicidal ideation in feminine outpatients: Potential proof from day by day rankings in a transdiagnostic pattern. Journal of Psychopathology and Medical Science.

Different references

Gee, B. L., Han, J., Benassi, H., & Batterham, P. J. (2020). Suicidal ideas, suicidal behaviours and self-harm in day by day life: A scientific evaluation of ecological momentary evaluation researchDigital well being6, 2055207620963958.

Heron, M. P. (2019). Deaths: main causes for 2017.

Kleiman, E. M., Turner, B. J., Fedor, S., Beale, E. E., Huffman, J. C., & Nock, M. Ok. (2017). Examination of real-time fluctuations in suicidal ideation and its threat components: Outcomes from two ecological momentary evaluation researchJournal of irregular psychology126(6), 726.

Kuehner, C., & Nayman, S. (2021). Premenstrual exacerbations of temper issues: findings and data gaps. Present psychiatry stories23, 1-11.

Pope, C. J., Oinonen, Ok., Mazmanian, D., & Stone, S. (2017). The hormonal sensitivity speculation: a evaluation and new findings. Medical hypotheses102, 69-77.

Saunders, Ok. E., & Hawton, Ok. (2006). Suicidal behaviour and the menstrual cycle. Psychological medication36(7), 901-912.

Schweizer-Schubert, S., Gordon, J. L., Eisenlohr-Moul, T. A., Meltzer-Brody, S., Schmalenberger, Ok. M., Slopien, R., … & Ditzen, B. (2021). Steroid hormone sensitivity in reproductive temper issues: on the position of the GABAA receptor complicated and stress throughout hormonal transitions. Frontiers in Drugs7, 479646.

Tiranini, L., & Nappi, R. E. (2022). Current advances in understanding/administration of premenstrual dysphoric dysfunction/premenstrual syndromeSchool Evaluations11.

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