Menopause is a natural phase in a woman's life, marking the end of her reproductive years. It’s certainly not a choice, nor is it something avoidable.
For many people who menstruate, this transitional period is also accompanied by a host of mental, physical and emotional changes. When women struggling with ADHD reach menopause, the chemical changes often exacerbate the symptoms, creating a knock-on effect that causes ripples in all areas of life.
Dealing with one or the other conditions can be challenging enough. However, the convergence of the two can pose unique challenges, requiring a sensitive and supportive environment. And this is something everyone can contribute to.
So, whether you're a friend, lover, family member, spouse, or colleague, if you want to lend a helping hand to women in menopause with ADHD, you have our full support!
You can start by learning more about the topic right here. Plus, we’ll explain how you can create a compassionate and understanding space that helps women undergoing “the change” cope.
Let’s get going…
To create a supportive environment, you need to understand the complications of experiencing menopause while living with ADHD.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurocognitive condition that presents in three primary ways:
Although people can fit anywhere in these three categories, common symptoms of ADHD in women include:
Menopause typically occurs in people who menstruate around the age of 50, signifying the end of their menstrual cycles. During this time, hormonal fluctuations can lead to hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and many other unpleasant symptoms.
One of those hormones, called estrogen, plays a crucial role in brain function. Estrogen is neuroprotective, meaning it increases the supply of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are mood enhancers, which improve cognition and sleep patterns. They also assist with verbal memory (i.e., remembering what someone said) and ADHD symptoms.
However, as people enter perimenopause, their estrogen starts dwindling. It comes to a grinding halt at menopause, causing disruptions in the body and mind.
In menopausal women, the hormonal changes can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, making it a particularly challenging time. Overlapping symptoms of the two conditions include:
Even if they have never struggled with these symptoms before, ADHD women may suddenly see these challenges arise during menopause. In fact, some people only discover they have ADHD as a result of these new or changing symptoms!
The first step is to raise awareness about the convergence of these two conditions. This involves educating people, workplaces, and communities about the symptoms and challenges associated with menopause and ADHD.
People often make light of menopausal symptoms without realizing the depth of the physical, emotional, and mental struggles that accompany this phase of life. The same can be said about adult ADHD.
Promoting understanding can combat stigma and cultivate empathy, laying the foundation for a more inclusive and compassionate environment.
Open and honest discussion is essential for creating a supportive environment.
Menopausal women dealing with ADHD may face unique struggles, such as increased forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and heightened emotional sensitivity. Encouraging dialogue about these challenges can help break down barriers and foster an environment where women feel comfortable expressing their needs.
The workplace is a critical arena where support for menopausal women with ADHD is crucial.
Employers can implement policies that recognize the diverse needs of their employees, such as remote work options. Additionally, providing a quiet, comfortable space for concentration and being understanding about potential memory issues can significantly contribute to a positive, supportive work environment. It’s important for employers and managers to understand their ADHD employee’s experience with feedback at work, which may have already been challenging due to ADHD symptoms, and may be heightened further during menopause.
There are also many apps and tools people can use to keep themselves on track at work, such as calendars, planners, and mobile to-do lists with alarms. In an ideal situation, employers and colleagues will extend grace and patience to women dealing with these struggles. However, it’s still essential for every person to use all tools at her disposal to present quality work. That may mean seeking accommodations for ADHD for the first time, which can be a challenging and stressful experience.
Building a strong social support system is essential for women navigating the intersection of menopause and ADHD.
Friends, partners, family, and colleagues can play a vital role in providing understanding, empathy, and practical assistance. Creating a community where women feel heard and cared for can significantly contribute to their overall well-being.
Some great resources to get started include:
Creating a supportive environment extends beyond external factors and involves empowering women to prioritize their well-being
Encouraging regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep can positively impact menopausal symptoms and ADHD. Hydration is also an important part of well-being, as women need around 2.7 liters of fluid daily. Drinking enough water can relieve menopause nausea and hot flashes, amongst other related benefits, making it easier for women coping with menopause and ADHD.
Additionally, fostering a culture that values mental health and offers resources such as counseling or support groups can provide crucial tools for managing the challenges associated with these experiences.
For women who aren’t coping with this double-barreled condition, the first step towards prioritizing their well-being is seeking professional help, and this can be found in various health sectors.
Navigating menopause while dealing with adult ADHD presents a unique set of challenges, and it’s not a female-only problem. Everyone can collectively contribute to a compassionate and supportive environment that makes menopausal women with ADHD feel comfortable and confident.
By recognizing person’s specific needs, we move towards a more inclusive and understanding society that values the experiences of all its members.
Are you a menopausal woman with ADHD, or do you want to offer support to someone who is?
A Shimmer ADHD coach can experiment with strategies and craft a routine that makes coping with ADHD easier and more accessible!