Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition that occurs before menstrual periods and affects mood and physical health. People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher risk of having PMDD.

PMDD and ADHD can both affect a person’s everyday life. The latter can cause difficulties with things such as concentration, focus, and organization. Those who have both ADHD and PMDD may find that they find it harder to manage their ADHD symptoms when they are experiencing PMDD.

This article will discuss the prevalence of PMDD amongst those with ADHD and how to manage these two conditions.

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PMDD is a condition that can cause mood symptoms for anywhere from a few days to a week before they start their period.

Researchers do not know what precisely causes PMDD, but some factors can increase a person’s risk of having it. Some of these include smoking, obesity, and previous trauma.

Symptoms include:

  • depressed mood
  • sadness or hopelessness
  • self-deprecating thoughts
  • anxiety
  • irritabiility
  • mood swings

Other common experiences include:

  • fatigue
  • change in appetite or overeating
  • food cravings
  • feeling overwhelmed or out of control
  • bloating
  • breast tenderness
  • headaches
  • muscle and joint pain
  • weight gain

A person with PMDD will experience some or all of these symptoms to the extent that it affects their ability to do day-to-day activities. It will also negatively affect their quality of life. Typically, symptoms ease once the person gets their period.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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People with ADHD who menstruate have a higher risk of having PMDD.

Research from 2020 found that there was a significantly higher prevalence of PMDD in women with ADHD than in the general population. The study reported 45.5% of women with ADHD having PMDD compared with a reported 28.7% in the general population.

Some research and anecdotal evidence show that there may be a high prevalence of people who have both ADHD and PMDD, but researchers are not entirely sure why.

ADHD causes low dopamine, which can cause symptoms such as low mood. This may explain why people with ADHD experience more severe symptoms throughout their menstrual cycles.

Personal accounts shared in ADDitude, an online magazine, suggest that premenstrual syndrome symptoms can worsen ADHD symptoms. Several readers shared stories of worsening ADHD symptoms for the days or weeks before getting their period.

A person experiencing both ADHD and PMDD can find everyday life difficult. Doctors may recommend both medication and different types of therapy to help manage each condition.

However, in cases where the individual has both conditions, there may be more factors to consider.

For example, a doctor may choose to increase doses of stimulant medications for ADHD on certain days of an individual’s menstrual cycle. This can help resist the effects of changing hormone levels.

Some tools for managing ADHD and PMDD include:

  • Managing stress: Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of both ADHD and PMDD, so finding effective ways to manage stress is important for people with both conditions. Meditation, physical activity, and therapy are potential ways to manage stress.
  • Therapy: Therapy can be an important part of managing both ADHD and PMDD. Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can be a useful tool for coping with both ADHD and PMDD.
  • Medication: Managing the symptoms of ADHD and PMDD can help reduce the severity of symptoms and improve a person’s quality of life. However, doctors may recommend certain medications that can help ease symptoms.
  • Diet: Research shows that a person’s diet can have an effect on both PMDD and ADHD symptoms. Managing their diet may help a person cope with the symptoms of both disorders.

If symptoms of ADHD and PMDD are affecting a person’s life to the point that they can not enjoy or participate in their usual activities, they need to speak with a doctor.

Both of these conditions can cause a person to feel isolated and alone, and it is important to reach out for help, especially if they are feeling overwhelmed or their symptoms are worsening.

PMDD is a disorder that causes psychological and physical symptoms in the days and weeks before a person gets their period.

People who have ADHD are more likely to have PMDD than those who do not, possibly due to especially low levels of dopamine relating to ADHD.

These two conditions can exacerbate one another and cause worsened ADHD symptoms.

Therapy, medication, and coping strategies can help a person manage these conditions and improve their quality of life.