emotions treating adults symptoms Hormones & ADHD cycling

The Menstrual Cycle Impacts ADHD Symptoms in Disparate Ways

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What do fluctuating hormones across the menstrual cycle mean for my ADHD symptoms and treatment? What do I need to know, and what should I expect?For girls, women, and naturally cycling individuals with ADHD, fluctuating estrogen and progesterone across the menstrual cycle invariably impact ADHD symptoms, emotions, and functioning.

We know this to be true, but there is almost no research validating this relationship. So, we arrive at this conclusion using available research on how hormonal changes affect the body, along with anecdotal information and clinical observations of patients with ADHD.But how hormonal fluctuations affect your ADHD symptoms — and even medication efficacy — is for you to learn and discuss with your doctor.[Get This Free Guide: Women, Hormones, and ADHD]Estrogen and progesterone are produced in the ovaries, among other places in the body.

These hormones easily pass through the blood-brain barrier to access the brain, which is filled with receptors that are involved in emotional regulation and cognitive functioning.

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We Demand Attention on How Medication Adjustments During the Monthly Menstrual Cycle and Menopause Could Improve Treatment Outcomes for Women
A small study suggests that menstruating people with ADHD may achieve more effective and consistent symptom control by increasing the dosage of their prescribed stimulant medication in the luteal phase, when estrogen levels hit their lowest point.There is a dearth of research examining the changes in ADHD symptoms and medication efficacy during all phases of the menstrual cycle, and during other times of hormonal change.However, one 2023 study published in Front Psychiatry found that increasing a patient’s dosage of stimulant medication during the week prior to menstruation can significantly improve cognitive and emotional symptoms of ADHD during this notoriously difficult phase in the menstrual cycle.1 The study was the first of its kind to examine the impact of adjusting stimulant medication dosages during the menstrual cycle for women with ADHD and co-occurring depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) – a severe form of PMS.Prior to the study, these women experienced “diminished response to amphetamines in the late luteal phase” and an “exacerbation of their ADHD and depressive symptoms in the premenstrual week” that was not helped by their regular ADHD medication. This experience was echoed in ADDitude’s 2023 survey of nearly 2,000 women with ADHD, two-thirds of whom said they experienced intense symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or PMDD, beginning, on average, at age 14 and lasting for up to 40 years.