Adhd and menopause

ADHD and menopause. The 4 most important things to know. 

  1. Menopause can worsen ADHD symptoms: The hormonal changes that occur during menopause can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, such as forgetfulness, distractibility, and disorganization. This is because a decrease in estrogen levels can impact dopamine availability, which is already an issue for individuals with ADHD.
  2. Medication adjustments may be necessary: Women with ADHD who are experiencing menopause may need to adjust their medication dosage or type to better manage their symptoms. It's important to work closely with a healthcare provider to find the most effective treatment plan.
  3. Self-care is crucial: Menopause and ADHD can both be overwhelming, so it's essential to prioritize self-care during this time. This can include regular exercise, getting enough sleep, practicing stress-reduction techniques like mindfulness or meditation, and seeking support from loved ones or a healthcare provider. A healthy diet is also important, as nutrition can impact both ADHD symptoms and menopausal symptoms.
  4. Hormone replacement therapy may help: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be a helpful treatment option for menopausal symptoms, including mood swings and hot flashes. While it may have unintended effects on ADHD symptoms, some women may find that it helps alleviate symptoms. It's important to monitor changes in symptoms and work with a healthcare provider to adjust treatment accordingly.

More to Understand about adhd and menopause

It can be a confusing and challenging time, but there are ways to cope. Here's what you need to know.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural process when a woman's ovaries stop producing eggs. This usually happens around the age of 50. Dur ing menopause, levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone decline. 

read about menopause anxiety


What is Perimenopause?

Perimenopause is the transition period leading up to menopause. It usually begins in a woman's 40s but can start earlier or later and last up to 12 years. During perimenopause, a woman's ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. This can cause changes in her menstrual cycle, mood, and other physical symptoms. 

You can read more about perimenopause here.

What's the relationship between perimenopause, adhd and menopause?

Many of these symptoms are similar to symptoms of ADHD. Women report brain fog, memory trouble, and emotional dysregulation, along with those you may more typically think of, such as hot flashes. Other symptoms such as difficulty with skin and hair changes and sex drive happen too.

Estrogen, which decreases during perimenopause, helps with dopamine production, helps increase the rate of dopamine breakdown, helps keep dopamine levels available for longer, and helps increase the number of receptors for dopamine available in the brain.

So it makes sense that when these levels plummet, women would start to struggle with ADHD-like symptoms. We know that ADHD is related to low dopamine levels. Additionally, levels of dopamine are increased by stimulants.

What happens to ADHD women during menopause and perimenopause?

Over the past few years, as we have begun to understand and identify ADHD in women more, it's evident that women with ADHD suffer terribly during these transitions. Their symptoms get worse. Not only that, but women who never were diagnosed as having ADHD, or who were considered subthreshold are now worsening to the point where they can no longer deny their diagnosis.


What are the Treatment Options

for Women with ADHD and Menopause

In a typical fashion, most doctors don't KNOW this info. Women get diagnosed as having anxiety and depression during this time, rather than ADHD. Advocating for yourself is essential; excellent and knowledgeable treatment providers treat women with HRT when possible. Although a very popular study,the Womens Health Initiative  suggested, this has since been debunked. It looks like the sooner you can get on treatment, the better you will be.

HRT has even been shown to be protective against long covid in one study!

According to Dr. Susan Varghese, there are natural (black Cohosh and yams) and lifestyle options and changes that can be made to your stimulants if you cannot take HRT.

Resources for women who are going through Adhd and menopause

These three women are experts in this area:

Sandra Kooij

Susan Varghese

Patricia Quinn

Perimenopausal and menopausal women with ADHD have a double whammy. It's important to know you aren't going crazy and don't have dementia, as this is a common concern often expressed. If you're having trouble getting your doctor to listen, don't be afraid to advocate for yourself. The sooner you can get help, the better you will feel. You deserve to feel as good as possible during this challenging time in your life.



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