ADHD and Your Period: Exploring the Impact on Mental Health and Daily Functioning

adhd and hormones

For women living with ADHD, hormonal fluctuations at different life stages, starting from puberty and the onset of menstruation and continuing to menopause, significantly impact ADHD symptoms. Only recently has the intersection of ADHD and the menstrual cycle begun to receive the attention it deserves.

Recent studies have shed light on the complex relationship between ADHD and the menstrual cycle, showing that women with ADHD experience more pronounced physical symptoms, emotional dysregulation, mood swings, and impulsivity throughout their cycle compared to those without ADHD. These hormonal fluctuations notably influence attention, moods, focus, forgetfulness, and impulsiveness.

Can ADHD Symptoms Worsen Before Your Period?

Indeed, with ADHD in women gaining more research focus, it’s clear that hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle significantly impact ADHD symptoms. Symptoms notably intensify during the pre-ovulation and pre-menstrual phases, especially during the luteal phase, due to decreased estrogen levels.

Recent research suggests increased impulsivity pre-ovulation and heightened emotional dysregulation and depression risk just before menstruation. For example, pre-ovulation might bring a surge in impulsive spending or drug use, while the premenstrual phase could increase tendencies toward self-injurious behaviors due to low mood.

Connections Between Hormone Levels and ADHD Symptoms

Hormonal shifts profoundly influence mood, sleep patterns, attention, and impulsivity, worsening ADHD symptoms. Symptoms tend to peak a week before menstruation and alleviate during the cycle’s first two weeks. The follicular phase, with its high estrogen levels, enhances mood and executive functions through increased neurotransmitter activity. However, the luteal phase’s hormonal shift, with rising progesterone and falling estrogen, exacerbates ADHD symptoms, posing additional challenges.

FAQs: Addressing Common Concerns

  • Can hormonal birth control help regulate ADHD symptoms?



Hormonal birth control may stabilize symptoms for some by reducing hormonal fluctuations. However, consulting with a healthcare provider is essential for personalized advice.


  • Do women with ADHD experience more intense Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms?
Yes, the overlap between ADHD and hormonal changes can intensify both ADHD and PMS symptoms, highlighting the need for specific management strategies.
  • The symptoms of pms are pain and cramps, bloating, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, food cravings, and trouble concentrating. These symptoms can be more severe in women with ADHD due to the hormonal fluctuations and dysregulation of neurotransmitters.

  • What about PMDD?


Women with ADHD are at a higher risk for PMDD, a severe mood disorder, underscoring the importance of managing hormonal impacts on ADHD effectively.


  • The symptoms of pmdd are very severe sympoms of mood swings, irritability, and depression, leading up to your period ( a week or so for part of the month) that are intense and debilitiate and go away usually after you start your period.

Strategies for Managing ADHD Symptoms During Your Period

  • Practicing Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness. Acknowledge the validity of your feelings and experiences, and celebrate your efforts, no matter how small.

period self compasson

  • Tracking Your Energy: Tune into your body’s energy levels and patterns. Use this insight to plan and adjust your activities during more challenging periods. Don’t do hard things when you are struggling.
  • Taking It Easy: Allow yourself to rest and take breaks, particularly on difficult days. It’s important to recognize your limits and the value of saying “no” when necessary.
  • Self-Care Through Rest and Cravings: Prioritize sufficient sleep and listen to your body’s cravings. If you crave something, give it to yourself. 

period craving

  • Utilizing Technology for Reminders and Support: Use calendar apps to track your period  and offer reminders that challenging times are temporary, fostering resilience.
  • Seeking Specialized Support: Partner with healthcare providers familiar with ADHD’s and women, 

Conclusion: Nurturing Resilience Through Understanding and Self-Compassion

Navigating ADHD amid hormonal fluctuations demands patience, understanding, and self-compassion. By embracing strategies that prioritize tracking energy levels, flexibility, and self-care, women can manage these periods with increased ease and resilience. Remember, seeking specialist support is a crucial step towards holistic well-being, empowering women with ADHD to live more balanced and fulfilling lives.

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