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Readers Respond: How Have Your Symptoms Changed in Relation to Normal Hormonal Fluctuations?

Responses: 13


Updated May 20, 2010

Normal hormonal changes that women experience throughout their lifetime can affect ADHD symptoms. Puberty, the monthly menstrual cycle, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause – all can result in changes in the way your symptoms present. Please share about some of the differences you have noticed in your symptoms in relation to hormonal changes.

Don't give up . . .

I am 57. I was diagnosed with: Bipolar II, ADHD (inattentive), a couple of anxiety disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, and just a touch of OCD. What a nightmare! I didn't get diagnosed until I was in my late '30's-early '40's. I was stunned but relieved; until you know what the problem is, you can't solve it. I, too, had terrible PMDD my entire life. Then suddenly I started perimenopause, and the roller coaster ride started. My hormones -- my mood, my hope -- went up and down. I took Ritalin for years, and it helped. Then I took long-acting Ritalin, that helped. But I was having to take it 2-3 times a day, still, so my doctor switched me to Vyvanse. The effects are much more even over the day. I have taken most of the standard SSRIs--Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and now Effexor for the second time. Since menopause has started, my depression is much more manageable; but I am also more hyper, and sometimes kind of b****y. The effects of my meds are quite different now.
—Guest artbug91

perimenopause and ADD

About two years ago when I was headed into perimenopause, my ADD symptoms got so much worse. I never connected the two until now but I was desperate to get treatment. Stimulant meds are not available in the country where I'm working so I had to leave the country to get help. So far the stimulant meds seem to be helping a lot, but I'll have a much fuller discussion with my doctor in the USA soon when I go back for a time. Thank you for raising awareness regarding how fluctuations in hormonal cycles can affect symptoms as well as the effectiveness of the meds.

So sad

My husband lost his job so there went my healthcare and my ADHD medication. I'm freaking out and self destructing. This month my period came like it should but on the day after it was supposed to end, I found myself spotting. I had no clue what was going on. Well, I am still spotting and have been for a week since my period should have stopped. I keep thinking it will stop and it just seems to hang on. I am so emotional and I am losing my temper at everyone and anything. I feel like I am unraveling. I am out of meds and I am afraid of what I might resort to. I'm afraid my husband will not be able to put up with me. I have no idea if I'm perimenopausal or not, I could have a cyst or cancer or...... I hate knowing I have to go through hoops all over again with new doctors and insurance.... Praying to God they won't say pre existing and not cover me. I feel like such a mess!
—Guest Cheryl

Ur so right

I have been living with ADD for over 40 years. My whole family suffers with ADD. Except me I am the mother. My husband has it plus my son and two daughters have it. My eldest daughter’s symptoms are not so bad as the others in fact she is at university studying to be a RN. I like to get things done but I am constantly frustrated by those around me. I know it's not their wish to be this way. Only my youngest girl is on medication and without it she cannot hold down a job. I cry buckets for my youngest girl. She does try so hard.
—Guest alana

Definitely ADHD

Anybody else reading these entries trying to figure out if they have ADHD but couldn’t be bothered fully reading the responses? My whole life I have "skimmed" everything. As an adult I have found Ritalin to be the only thing that has truly helped. Before I used whatever I could to make my mind calm enough to focus on things…still hate having to take drugs. Wish there was another alternative.
—Guest susan


I am in the throes of perimenopause at age 45. I find that my ADD symptoms have worsened in the last year. I have been going through a stressful time with my father for about the last six months, which has made things worse. However, I started using HRT, which I have increased use of recently, and it has really helped to alleviate my symptoms a lot. I would strongly urge the women out there who have ADHD and are going through perimenopause to give HRT a try.

Hormones Are Powerful

I was diagnosed & started taking medication at 55 during perimenopause. I am about to turn 60 and have been menopausal for over 2 yrs. I have definitely noticed that the medication isn't working as well as it once did. It still helps enough to allow me to function, but with more difficulty now. It has become apparent, though, that if I don't take the medication my symptoms return with a vengence that makes the most basic daily activities difficult to carry out. It reminds me of how it was before meds when once a month PMS would rear its ugly head rendering me severely cognitively impaired, resulting in extreme anxiety, fatigue, depressive symptoms and void of ability to see good in anything. Without the awareness of ADHD, I couldn't understand why it was affecting me so much worse than any other woman I knew. Now I'm researching natural (bioidentical) hormone replacement I believe menopausal women with ADHD should consider HRT. Highly recommend Christian Northop, MD, any of her books.

I love my wife but I also love life!!!

I’m newly married for my 2nd and her 5th time. I have 2 step daughters, one with ADHD / bipolar. Never been so in love in my life. Her either about 23 days a month. She recently admitted to "slight" ADHD. I have since been reading any and all things to get educated. But once a month about the same time, she turns hateful towards me and kids. They are used to it. But I get tired of the hurt from someone who loves me so much the rest of the month. Have zeroed in on the fidgeting, procrastination, sensitivity to light, noise and sometimes touch during sex. She often over compensates trying to achieve simple goals and she makes lists upon lists to get tasks done. She also has this way of trying to turn problems around and putting them on me. Is their hope???
—Guest Don r

Normal hormonal fluctuations

I was diagnosed with ADHD as a 45 yrs old, middle aged female. 30 yrs of attempts finding out why anti-depressives, psychotherapy, self medication with alcohol, self destructive decisions not because impulses or stupidity, decisions made totally in conflict with my moral and ethic standards. My son was fairly easily diagnosed as ADHD. My son at that time 5 yrs old, had a tough time in daycare, social behavior showed problems as destroying, interrupting, and if not invited to participate, sabotaging the games his classmates took part in. Both parents in the medical field - me in internal medicine and diabetology/endocrinology and my ex husband in GP. We used all our opportunities to get our son the right diagnosis and treatment before he attended preschool. When central stimulant in moderate dose gave us a smart, calm, cool and focused little boy, I started to put 2 and 2 together. I asked for an expert opinion when it came to my symptoms, ADHD and med changes.

Oh My! It Does Exist!

I am 57, still going through menopause…and, here I thought I was going crazy!!! I've been so up, down, and sideways with my ADD! Some days are good, some days are AWFUL…the ADD symptoms are all over the place!!! The duration of "episodes" of one way or another, which can last days, or weeks. There is no predicting. Consequently, I’ve been going crazy with my meds. My Ritalin worked, for months, then stopped working. Dr. and I upped the dose. That worked for a few months, then stopped working altogether. Then Dr. suggested another stimulant. Wow, that worked wonderfully ... for 3 months, that is, until it made me hyper to point of "unfocus." At that point, I stopped taking meds altogether ... then in a month, I slumped into ADD hell. I then went back on the Ritalin... and, voila, the ADD is controllable once more, some days I take 3 or 4 doses.. .other days I don't take any.. ..for I simply, don't need it to stay focused and productive. Anyone else?
—Guest Marilyn

Not Professionally Diagnosed

My whole life I have had a full spectrum of ADD symptoms that have been dismissed as blonde hyperactive/sensitive child, to PMSy scarily-impossible adolescent, to forgetful socially awkward adult. Forgetfulness/loosing things/memory recall, poor/improper time management are the worst (unresolved procrastination/overachiever habits from childhood lead to workaholic manic overdrive crash and burn in promising A+ college and career). Not only did I have these growing up, so has my mother - leaving me for pick up because she was finishing grocery shopping at 8+ at night in the city is scary, and regular...it was worse for her/us through her menopause (depression/distraction, moods, etc.). Her fears of the mental health industry were almost fully realized through my experiences with poor medical treatment/consideration, horrific prescription experiences, and lonely/rough extreme detoxing after being made disabled by following several bad Drs orders precisely. I am fortunate to still be here. PMS is no joke.


I do get more moody and forgetful right before my period starts, but I know it is coming and I try to make adjustments so it doesn't affect my work and home life quite so much.
—Guest workingmom

Normal Hormonal Fluctuations?

I always had very bad PMS symptoms along with just terrible depression when I was younger. I never wanted to do anything with my friends. I just wanted to sleep or eat and go to bed and forget the world was even around. I believe I have had depression with anxiety along with ADHD all my life! Now I am in perimenopause and have the same symptoms as a young girl but much worse! I am very moody, want to sleep more than usual, and can cry on the drop of a dime! My poor husband has had enough of me! I am on a SSRI but no ADHD meds. Plus, now I left my job because of ADHD and cannot find any job that I can do!

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