Posttraumatic Oxytocin Dysregulation: Is It a Link Among Posttraumatic Self Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Pelvic Visceral Dysregulation Conditions in Women?

J Trauma Dissociation. 2010;11(4):387-406. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2010.496075.


This article explicates a theory that oxytocin, a sexually dimorphic neurotransmitter and paracrine hormone, is a plausible mechanism linking early relational trauma with posttraumatic self disorders (e.g., dissociation, somatization, and interpersonal sensitivity), posttraumatic stress disorder, and pelvic visceral dysregulation disorders (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis, and hyperemesis gravidarum). This posttraumatic oxytocin dysregulation disorders theory is consistent with the historical and contemporary literature. It integrates attention to psychological and physical comorbidities and could account for the increased incidence of these disorders among females. Specific propositions are explored in data from studies of traumatic stress and women's health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystitis, Interstitial / metabolism
  • Cystitis, Interstitial / psychology
  • Dissociative Disorders / metabolism
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / metabolism
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum / psychology
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / metabolism
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Oxytocin / metabolism*
  • Pelvic Pain / metabolism
  • Pelvic Pain / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / metabolism*
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / metabolism
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / metabolism*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*


  • Oxytocin