Menstrual cycle is a natural process that women experience and go through. It is part of how their body works. It is not always a pleasant or easy thing to go through.
Similarly to when menopause starts, the menstrual cycle may affect girls and women with ADHD differently.
Let’s start by taking a look at women’s menstruation.
First, menstruation is a woman’s monthly bleeding, which many may refer to as our “period”. The menstrual cycle is the monthly hormonal cycle that women experience, which allows their body for pregnancy. Levels of estrogen and progesterone change during this time.
Since every woman is different, symptoms may vary. As a result of this, some women’s symptoms might be mild, while more severe for others.
The most common one is cramps in the pelvic area. Additionally, other symptoms include mood changes, headache, and bloating, to name a few.
Additionally, a week or two before our period, women may experience a combination of symptoms, physical and emotional, which is referred to as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
Menstrual Cycle for Women w/ ADHD
Girls and women with ADHD also go through menstruation and cycle. However, their experience differs in some ways from their neurotypical counterparts.
It has a lot to do with the hormone estrogen, which affects receptors in the brain that release chemicals such as dopamine. For example, when estrogen levels are high, women with ADHD may have an easier time managing their symptoms. On the other hand, when estrogen levels go down towards the end of our cycle, that may make our ADHD symptoms worse.
While doing some research, I’ve noticed that many women with ADHD admit that their symptoms are worse in the week or so before their brain.
Some common symptoms and struggles include:
- Confusion, brain fog
- Fatigue, difficulty sleeping
- Focus and attention may become more challenging
At the end of the day, our hormones do affect our brain.
Tips to Help Manage Symptoms
There are certain things that we can do to manage our menstrual and ADHD symptoms.
For instance, here are some suggestions.
- Keep track. Tracking your symptoms can help you see how menstruation affects you. If symptoms are serious, it can help you and your doctor come with a plan.
- Be easy on yourself. It’s not an easy time when you’re dealing with ADHD and your period. This is a good time to ask for some help and take things a little slower. Listen to your body and what it needs.
- Talk to your partner. Let your partner know what you’re going through, how you’re feeling, and the changes going on in your body and mind. Being honest with them may help them have an easier time being supportive.
- Techniques for stress reduction. Breathing techniques, yoga, and meditation can help with stress and feeling calmer.
Try different things. Find what works best for you.