The association between menstrual cycle and traumatic memories.

Journal of affective disorders

PubMedID: 21093927

Bryant RA, Felmingham KL, Silove D, Creamer M, O'Donnell M, McFarlane AC. The association between menstrual cycle and traumatic memories. J Affect Disord. 2011;131(1-3):398-401.
BACKGROUND
Women in the mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle have been shown to have stronger emotional memories than other women. We investigated the extent to which experiencing a traumatic event during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle is associated with stronger traumatic flashback memories.

METHODS
Consecutive female patients admitted to hospital after traumatic injury (n=138) were assessed for days since last menstruation, as well as assessment of flashbacks. Twenty three (17%) women were in the mid-luteal phase (18-24) days at the time of trauma exposure and 29 (21%) were in the mid-luteal phase at the time of assessment.

RESULTS
Women were more likely to experience flashback memories if they were in the luteal phase during the trauma (22% vs. 9%), adjusted OR: 3.64 [95%CI: 0.99-13.29] after controlling for injury severity, age, trauma type, and mild traumatic brain injury. Women in the luteal phase at assessment were 4.89 times more likely to have flashbacks. Adjusted OR: 4.89 [95%CI: 1.39-17.86].

CONCLUSIONS
Increased glucocorticoid release associated with the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle may facilitate consolidation of trauma memories.