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The treatment of bipolar disorder in women 

The treatment of bipolar disorder in women
The treatment of bipolar disorder in women

Danielle Balzafiore

, Thalia Robakis

, Sarah Borish

, Vena Budhan

, and Natalie Rasgon

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date: 02 July 2022

Sex-specific effects in the clinical presentation and course of bipolar disorder in women have important treatment implications for the management of symptoms across the menstrual cycle and reproductive lifespan. Women with bipolar disorder are particularly vulnerable to premenstrual mood symptoms, menstrual abnormalities, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Special considerations include understanding the interactions between these reproductive issues, oral contraceptives, and mood-stabilizing agents. Additionally, the management of bipolar disorder during the perinatal period requires a careful approach to psychotropic medication to optimize the maintenance of mood stability while minimizing the potential for adverse risk of fetal and neonatal outcomes. Non-pharmaceutical approaches, including electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, selected psychotherapies, and social and behavioural interventions may represent efficacious treatment options to reduce medication burden. Lastly, women with bipolar disorder may be at particular risk for worsening of affective symptoms during the menopausal transition, and strategies to reduce sleep disruption are imperative.

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