Menstrual and Menopause Support for Neurodivergence

Managing menstrual health and menopause can be a complex and challenging experience for anyone. However, for autistic people who menstruate, or those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), these hormonal transitions can be even more difficult to navigate.

 Unique Challenges

People with ADHD are already predisposed to difficulties with attention span, memory, organizational skills, and emotional regulation. The hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle can exacerbate these challenges, making it harder to focus, remember important tasks, and manage emotions effectively. Additionally, the decline in oestrogen leading up to and during menopause can further compound these issues. Oestrogen plays a crucial role in regulating dopamine levels, which are already low in people with ADHD. As oestrogen levels drop, dopamine levels can plummet, leading to increased symptoms of ADHD.

Menstrual Cycle Impact on Autistic People

For autistic people, the menstrual cycle can heighten sensory sensitivities, emotional dysregulation, and routine disruptions. Pain, discomfort, and sensitivity to blood can arise or become more pronounced, leading to sensory overload and overwhelm. Changes to routine during menstruation can exacerbate these difficulties and cause distress. Menopause can introduce additional challenges, such as more painful, prolonged bleeding, unexpected bleeding episodes, night sweats, and hot flushes. These symptoms can further aggravate sensory sensitivities and introduce unpredictability into routines, leading to anxiety.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is a hormonal health condition that causes a range of physical and emotional symptoms in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (typically a week or two before bleeding). While PMS affects around 48% of people who menstruate, PMDD is much less common, occurring in only 3-9% of the population. However, studies suggest that autistic people and those with ADHD are disproportionately affected by PMDD. Approximately 92% of autistic people who menstruate and 46% of people with ADHD who menstruate experience PMDD.

Effective Management for People with Autism/ADHD/AuDHD

Effective preparation and management of the menstrual cycle and menopause are crucial for making these transitions smoother. This is particularly important for autistic people or those with ADHD, who may require more personalized and targeted support. By understanding the unique challenges faced by neurodivergent people, healthcare providers can tailor their approach to help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Seeking Professional Guidance

If you are autistic or someone with ADHD who is struggling with menstrual health or menopause, seeking professional guidance is essential. A therapist or counsellor can provide personalized support, help you develop coping mechanisms, and connect you with additional resources.

My Commitment to Neurodivergent Clients

As a menstrual health and menopause awareness practitioner, I am committed to providing comprehensive and empathic support to people navigating these hormonal transitions. My training and experience allow me to understand and address the unique challenges faced by neurodivergent clients, and I am passionate about helping them to achieve optimal well-being.

A, D. M., K, S., A, D., & Sattar, K. (2014). Epidemiology of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)-A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Study. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 8(2), 106–109.

Thakrar, P.D., Bhukar, K., & Oswal, R.M. (2021). Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Prevalence, quality of life and disability due to illness among medical and paramedical students.

Obaydi, H., & Puri, B. K. (2008). Prevalence of premenstrual syndrome in autism: a prospective observer-rated study. The Journal of international medical research, 36(2), 268–272.

Dorani F, Bijlenga D, Beekman ATF, van Someren EJW, Kooij JJS. Prevalence of hormone-related mood disorder symptoms in women with ADHD. J Psychiatr Res. 2021 Jan;133:10-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.12.005. Epub 2020 Dec 3. PMID: 33302160.