ADHD & Menstrual Cycle


ADHD symptoms can fluctuate based on where you are in your cycle. Research suggests that hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle can influence the severity and presentation of ADHD symptoms.

Follicular phase

During the follicular phase, it can be easier to manage ADHD symptoms. This phase typically occurs in the first half of the menstrual cycle, after menstruation has ended and leading up to ovulation. 

Hormone levels, particularly estrogen, tend to rise steadily during this phase, which can have a stabilizing effect on neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Thus the increase in estrogen levels may contribute to improved focus, mood stability, and enhanced executive functioning.

Luteal phase

During the luteal phase (which occurs in the second half of the menstrual cycle after ovulation), symptoms can worsen. During this time, estrogen levels drop, and progesterone levels rise, which can lead to an increase in the severity of ADHD symptoms. In some cases, ADHD’ers may find that their usual ADHD medications are less effective during this phase, and adjustments to their treatment plan may be needed.

Symptoms become more severe

During this time, it’s common to experience low motivation, emotional dysregulation, restlessness, difficulty with focus, and some might even experience anxiety and depression that’s connected to PMDD (a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that can significantly exacerbate mood and cognitive symptoms). It’s important to note that if you experience PMDD, it can also intensify ADHD-related challenges, making it essential for individuals to be aware of this connection and seek appropriate support from healthcare professionals who can address both conditions.

F the hormones!

Estrogen levels and dopamine play crucial roles in regulating mood, attention, and overall cognitive function. Understanding how these changes affect symptoms, can empower ADHD’ers to seek holistic approaches to symptom management that may include hormonal therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and psychological interventions to help alleviate the impact on their well-being.

different expectations

It’s okay to have different expectations for yourself based on your cycle. Some days you’re unstoppable, and other times it’s time to rest. Recognizing and embracing these natural fluctuations in energy and productivity can be a healthy and empowering way to navigate life with more self-compassion and understanding. By allowing yourself the flexibility to adapt your goals and self-care routines to your menstrual cycle, you can better optimize your performance and well-being throughout the month while reducing stress and self-imposed pressure.

PMDD Symptoms tracker

Tracking my symptoms has been incredibly helpful to notice the patterns. It’s also essential to track your symptoms for several months for a PMDD diagnosis. This worksheet can help you do just that, as well as prepare for a doctors appointment. 😊

Coaching can help!

If you’re interested to work together with an ADHD coach when it comes to achieving your goals and using tools that work for your ADHD brain with fluctuating hormones and all…please reach out! 😄

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