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Centre for Suicide Research | Research | Menstrual cycle |


Suicide, DSH and the menstrual cycle


Dr.Kate Saunders has worked with us on a systematic review of possible associations between both suicide and DSH, and the menstrual cycle.

Results. Forty-four relevant studies were identified in total, 13 pertaining to suicide, two pertaining to both attempted and completed suicide, 23 to suicide attempts, three to suicide attempts in those suffering from the premenstrual syndrome (PMS), three to suicidal ideation and two to repetitive self-harming behaviours. A variety of methodologies were used in these studies and there were notable differences in the conclusions reached. Studies with better methodology suggest that a positive relationship exists between aspects of the menstrual cycle and non-fatal suicidal behaviour. Such behaviour appears to be more common in those phases of the menstrual cycle when oestrogen levels are lowest (the late luteal and follicular phases), and in those suffering from PMS.

Conclusions. There appears to be an association between the menstrual cycle and non-fatal suicidal behaviours. Interaction between oestrogen and the serotonergic system may provide a possible mechanism.

Saunders, K. E. A., Hawton, K. (2006) Suicidal behaviour and the menstrual cycle: a review. Psychological Medicine, 36, 901-912


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