A new study has found that over the course of the menstrual cycle, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may vary, with fewer symptoms presenting as a woman moves closer to ovulation and more symptoms presenting during the first few days of the cycle.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Thomas Jefferson University, with its findings being published in the “Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy Journal.”
The researchers found that estradiol, which is an estrogen hormone produced in the female body, was responsible for this change. This hormone regulates the reproductive cycle in women. The level of estradiol usually increases during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, which prompts various events that cause ovulation to occur.
Different studies have linked low levels of estradiol during the menstrual cycle to lower activation in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, particularly when viewing emotional content, and greater activation in the brain’s limbic areas, which are associated with emotion. Low levels of estradiol have also been linked to increased fear responses, as well as greater anxiety and stress.
For their study, the researchers recruited 40 women, all aged between 18 and 33. Each of them had witnessed or experienced a traumatic event, including sexual violence and severe injuries.
The researchers’ focus was to explore how these links to estradiol impacted trauma response. They started by measuring the level of estradiol in each participant’s saliva, then asked them to recount the trauma that they had experienced as well as the symptoms of PTSD they had observed in the past month. The researchers discovered that a lower level of estradiol was linked to higher self-reported symptom severity.
The researchers also measured two stress biomarkers in the participant’s saliva — alpha-amylase and cortisol — before and after each participant had recounted their trauma. Cortisol is associated with the human body’s sustained response to stress while alpha-amylase is associated with the fight-or-flight response.
In addition to this, the researchers asked each participant to fill out five daily questionnaires for 10 days. These questionnaires were used to measure how each participant felt at different times of the day while on the low- and high-estradiol portions of their cycles. Each participant was also asked to complete a symptom checklist for PTSD every evening.
The researchers found that on average participants reported more serious symptoms of PTSD on days they had greater variability in their daily moods, which was during days when their level of estradiol was low.
The lead author of the study, Jenna Rieder, stated that the findings could have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Speaking of PTSD treatment, a number of companies, including Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (NEO: MYCO) (OTC: MYCOF), are actively focused on developing a new line of efficacious psychedelics-based formulations targeting PTSD and other psychiatric indications.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (NEO: MYCO) (OTC: MYCOF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/MYCOF
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