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PTSD and Women 

PTSD and Women
Chapter:
PTSD and Women
Source:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Author(s):

Sara L. Kornfield

, and C. Neill Epperson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190259440.003.0013

It is generally accepted that women are at greater risk of lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than men. Both gender differences in trauma exposures and cognitive response to trauma as well as sex differences in neuroendocrine function are thought to contribute to the differences in prevalence of PTSD across the lifespan. For women, reproductive transitions such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are particularly relevant, as ovarian and stress hormones as well as neurosteroids exert profound effects on the central nervous system. Similarly, pregnancy and childbirth can be experienced as traumatic events leading to exacerbation or new-onset PTSD. This chapter reviews the relevant literature regarding PTSD in women to highlight the importance of considering gender and sex as risk and resilience factors. The chapter is organized according to reproductive stage, as PTSD symptoms and treatment implications vary across the female lifespan.

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