Postpartum Mood Disorders

Perinatal Mood Disorder & Other Hormonally Triggered Mood Disorders

I’m going to bet that you’ve never heard the term “Hormonally Triggered Mood Disorder” mentioned by your doctor.  But yes it is really a thing, the problem is that it’s not an actual “diagnosis”.  You may know that I believe that too many women’s health issues are being painted with a mental health brush.  The problem with this is that we aren’t getting to the root cause.

There is good news. Dr. Jennifer Payne, M.D.  and Psychiatrist Karen Swartz, M.D. created the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at John Hopkins Hospital to study hormonally triggered mood disorders and provide expert evaluation of women who suffer with such symptoms.  Though they are located in Baltimore, Maryland they will see Patients across the USA as well as International Patients!  Great News!

What is a Hormonally Triggered Mood Disorder?  

Perinatal Mood Disorders are one of many hormonally triggered mood disorders that are treated at the Women’s Mood Disorders Center, others are premenstrual dysphoria disorder (PMDD), perimenopause & menopause-related depression, and major depression or bipolar disorder — which are both marked by gender differences.

Dr. Jennifer Payne is the first doctor I’ve heard quoted as saying this which is something I have believed for years:

“I believe there’s a distinct group of women with unusual sensitivity to normal hormone fluctuations,” Dr. Payne says.  “And their problems aren’t tied to actual hormone levels so much as to changes in those hormone levels.”

Source: John Hopkins

That statement certainly fits me.  And I am not alone. I often hear from women who say they are told their labs are in the “normal range” but they don’t feel right.  Could it be that maybe it’s being looked at all wrong? 

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]After 15 years of research, I absolutely believe too many women are being denied the proper help because our medical system relies on “normal ranges”~Sonya [/pullquote]  Thank you Dr. Jennifer Payne!  Now can we get you to shout it from the rooftops?!

“Mood disorders in women are understudied, to put it mildly,” says Dr. Payne and she cites the desperate need for more research.  

One of the problems is that it takes  17 years on average for research findings to “find” their way into clinical practice.  Yup…by then your reproductive years are long gone.  Which is why I say do your research and advocate for yourself.  But research is necessary and I’m excited about the future of research in this area. 


Participate in Dr. Payne’s Pregnancy & Postpartum Research:

Perinatal Mood Disorders need more of the type of research Dr. Payne is involved in. I wish I had been able to participate in a study and if you feel the same here’s information on the research she is doing – check it out:

Symptoms of Hormonally Triggers Mood Disorders

  • Irritability or tension
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sexual interest
  • Food cravings or overeating
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Decreased concentration
  • Increased productivity or interest in new projects
  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in energy level
  • Mood changes (sadness or elevated mood)
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Racing thoughts/rapid speech

The John Hopkins Women’s Mood Disorders Center evaluates and treats women with mood disorders, with a special emphasis on the treatment of hormonally-triggered mood disorders such as premenstrual, postpartum, and perimenopausal mood disorders.  The center offers:

  • Pre-pregnancy Consultation

  • Pregnancy Consultation

  • Postpartum Consultation

  • Menstrual Cycle Symptom Consultation

  • Peri-menopause Consultation


For the full arcticle & information on the clinic:


The information provided on this site is not intended as medical advice  – seek medical advice from a doctor.  If you take medication never stop taking them without the supervision of your doctor.  Postpartum Psychosis is a medical emergency if you or someone you know is suffering seek medical attention immediately – call 9-1-1.