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Do contraceptives work differently for people with ADHD?

1 min read
Cycle Care

Approved by

Ingeborg van Dijk - trainee gynecologist
Sandra Kooij - Psychiatrist
Does the pill work differently in people who suffer from ADHD or ADD? We figured it out for you.

It is a given that many women with ADHD or ADD suffer more from premenstrual symptoms, and that in the week up to the menstruation, ADHD symptoms are more severe. This indicates that there is a link between ADHD and female sex hormones.

Research shows that a higher progesterone level (typical for the two weeks after ovulation) has a negative effect on the effectiveness of ADHD medication. Also, an increase in this hormone can contribute to feeling depressed, abdominal cramping and fatigue. Progesterone also counteracts the action of estrogen.

In the first phase of the cycle, which lasts about 2 weeks, more and more estrogen is produced. With ovulation as the peak. In this phase of the cycle you feel better and you suffer less from mood swings. You certainly still have your ADHD symptoms in this phase, but due to the production of estrogen, more dopamine and noradrenaline are available, making it all just that little bit easier. Even if you take medication, it works best during this period, as you experience the most effect. Estrogen, just like dopamine, is actually great! . If the estrogen level drops significantly during the second half of the cycle, a non-ADHD brain also suffers from this. Think of mood swings, not feeling focused, et cetera. The brain that already has ADHD and therefore produces less dopamine and noradrenaline anyway, has a much, much more difficult time during this period. All ADHD characteristics often worsen during this period.

Treatment with a combination pill (without a stop week) can reduce these complaints. Often birth control pills with bioidentical hormones work well. Bioidentical hormones are hormones that have exactly the same chemical formula as the body's own hormones. There are some birth control pills on the market that contain these hormones. It is and remains tailor-made to see if it works. Some people with ADHD are very satisfied with the pill, others are not. .

Does the hormone IUD work for ADHD symptoms?

A hormone IUD contains only 1 type of synthetic hormone: progestin. This is similar to the hormone progesterone that plays a particular role in the luteal phase of the cycle. So you have no benefit from the hormone estrogen that is present in the combination pill. That would mean that a hormone IUD works less well for ADHD complaints and that is often the case. However, there are also plenty of people with ADHD who do benefit from a hormone IUD. There really is still a lot of research to be done into how it works exactly. . .


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