Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine

The Truth About Hormones & Women's Mental Health

It's a fact: hormones do affect women's mental health. Find out how they affect PMS, pre- and postpartum depression, menopause — and what the latest research tells us.


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IN THIS Episode

Dr. Inbal Reuveni

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About this episode

New research by the Hadassah Medical Organization has shown that women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are more likely to experience perimenopausal depression, says Dr. Inbal Reuveni, a senior psychiatrist at the hospital.

In this month's "Hadassah on Call: New Frontiers in Medicine" podcast, host Maayan Hoffman and Dr. Reuveni discuss this research and the issue of women's mental health.

Dr. Reuveni says that around three to eight percent of women experience not just menstrual cramps and mood swings but full-blown PMS. She recommends keeping a period diary to track their cycles. If they start to experience symptoms such as cravings or emotional outbursts, they'll know why it's happening. And in some cases, they could reduce the challenge by not planning important items at work during that period, making sure to have fresh foods in the house or even exercising.

The Hadassah Medical Organization has put women's mental health at the forefront of its basket of care. For example, Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem is unique in that it places a psychiatrist in the OB/GYN department to make mental health care more accessible to patients. Women can come for their appointments and then check in with Dr. Reuveni or one of her colleagues, which helps to minimize the stigma of mental health care — and makes it more accessible to busy women.

Dr. Reuveni's latest research studies women who are planning to get pregnant and seeking ways to determine prenatal depression and anxiety before they become severe. The study includes 100 women and 40 babies.

Although results are not expected until late 2023, the team has already seen a connection between childhood trauma and depression and anxiety during pregnancy, as well as potential attachment problems with the newborns.

What does she hope to see in the future? For the stigma around mental health to go away. She also hopes that through research like hers, doctors will be able to predict and prevent many mental health issues in women before they start.

"I want people to be aware that these challenges do exist, to feel free to approach their family physicians and ask for help," she says.

Further learning:

"Hadassah On Call: New Frontiers in Medicine" is a production of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah enhances the health of people around the world through medical education, care and research innovations at the Hadassah Medical Organization. For more information on the latest advances in medicine please head over to hadassah.org.

Subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. If you haven't already, please leave us a review. It only takes a minute and when you do it helps others discover "Hadassah on Call."

The show is hosted by Maayan Hoffman and produced by the team at the Hadassah offices in both New York and Israel.

This episode includes promotions for:

Our recent episode with Dr. Gal Goldstein:

If you are enjoying this episode, you'll want to check out our previous episode, "Kids, Cancer & Genes" with Dr. Gal Goldstein, focusing on children with cancer. Learn about bone marrow transplants, immunotherapy, the emotional needs of patients and healthcare professionals, precision medicine and research into genetic mutations. You can find that episode of "Hadassah On Call" on Apple Podcast, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcast. Or on the web at hadassah.org/hadassahoncall.

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About our guest(s)

Dr. Inbal Reuveni, MD is the director of the Women's Integrated Mental-Health Service at Hadassah Medical Organization. A graduate of the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, she completed her residency in adult psychiatry at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School. Her current research focuses on the neurobiological imprint of exposure to childhood trauma and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.