Q. My sister, 39, has had "something wrong with her" since she was a teenager. I recently learned that she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder by more than one therapist working at county mental health centers where my sister has turned, as an adult, when she has felt the worst. 

She rejects the diagnosis, at least to the point where she will not take prescribed medication. Her X husband noticed that she was completely functional when she was pregnant with each of her two sons. He correctly suspects she is pregnant again because of the stability of her mood. Could a hormone like progesterone really alleviate her symptoms? If so, is she really bipolar? What's the connection between hormones and mood disorders?


  A. Some folks get more normal during pregnancy but we do not know why. Progesterone treatment, however, is not a viable intervention in her case.