Suicide attempts among women during low estradiol/low progesterone states

Enrique Baca-Garcia, Carmen Diaz-Sastre, Antonio Ceverino, M. Mercedes Perez-Rodriguez, Rocio Navarro-Jimenez, Jorge Lopez-Castroman, Jeronimo Saiz-Ruiz, Jose de Leon, Maria A. Oquendo

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62 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relationship between the menstrual cycle and risk for suicidal behaviors is not clear. The aim of this study is to determine whether perimenstrual phases in fertile women are associated with acute risk for suicide attempt and explore whether risk is elevated during low estradiol/low progesterone states. Women (N = 431) recruited within 24 h of a suicide attempt were assessed for psychopathology, suicidal behavior and LH, FSH, estradiol and progesterone blood levels. Among fertile women (N = 281/431), suicide attempts were more likely to occur during menses (26%, 72/281 observed vs. 15%, 43/281 expected attempts; p < 0.001). Compared to women whose attempts occurred during other phases, women who attempted suicide during low estradiol/low progesterone states (menstrual phase, amenorrhea and menopause) reported severe suicide intent, a measure that may be predictive of eventual suicide death. Suicide attempts among women are more likely when estrogen and progesterone levels are low and attempts made under these conditions are associated with greater severity. Low gonadal hormone levels may constitute a key factor in the neurobiological basis of suicidal behavior among women, suggesting a novel, testable hypothesis regarding the underpinnings of suicidal acts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award to Dr. Baca-Garcia and by the Spanish Health Ministry (FIS 01/0077-01, and Instituto de Salud Carlos III, CIBERSAM).

Funding Information:
Dr. Baca-Garcia reports no conflict of interest. Dr. Diaz-Sastre reports no conflict of interest. Dr. Ceverino reports no conflict of interest. Dr. Perez-Rodriguez reports no conflict of interest. Dr. Navarro-Jimenez reports no conflict of interest. Dr. Lopez-Castroman reports no conflict of interest. Dr. Saiz-Ruiz reports no conflict of interest. Dr. de Leon reports no conflict of interest. Dr. Oquendo has received funding from NIMH, NIAAA, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Moody’s Foundation, an unrestricted educational grant from Eli Lilly and has served as a consultant to Pfizer.

Keywords

  • Attempted suicide
  • Estrogen
  • Gonadal steroid hormones
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Menstruation
  • Progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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