While bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, there are gender differences.
• Women are more likely to develop the rapid cycling form of bipolar disorder.
• Women are more likely than men to have bipolar II vs. bipolar I.
• Women have a higher percentage of depressed and mixed episodes than manias. This has been shown in two separate studies.
• Women with bipolar disorder are at very high risk for relapse (roughly 80 percent), or a first mood episode toward the end of pregnancy and in the period after giving birth (post-partum depression, mania, or psychosis).
• Mood symptoms in women may be influenced by the menstrual cycle and other hormonal life events, such as menarche (the first period) and menopause (cessation of periods).