Amy Jo

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  • Amy Jo

    You’re not imagining this! Like many women, I was finally diagnosed with ADHD at age 45 – the same time my hormones were secretly conspiring against me. Two doctors had tested my hormone levels and told me they were normal so I asked my psychiatrist to adjust my meds, but nothing helped. Then I saw a sexual health specialist, she tested my sex-hormone-binding-globulin(SHBG) and it was extremely high. She explained that the standard testing protocol done by most doctors (even Ob/Gyns and endocrinologists) would show my estrogen as “normal” when in reality 100% of it was actually bound to the SHBG. So as far as my brain and body were concerned it was if I had no estrogen at all. My periods had also become intolerable, to help both issues she put me on a BC pill with the lowest dose of progesterone available (progesterone makes me bat$#!t crazy/depressed). I felt better but I had to stop taking them after 3 years because my SHBG became too high again. All my previous symptoms returned and I was miserable. When I couldn’t take it anymore she started me on an estrogen (specifically Estradiol) patch (different than the birth control patch and I won’t affect my SHBG level). The estrogen patch definitely helps my brain and my periods are normal.
    I really wish you all the best! I know we’ll eventually come out on the other side of this.

    Here a few links that helped me get a better understanding of the variables-
    note: I’m not affiliated with anyone/thing or selling/promoting anything or giving medical advice

    Do a Google search for the PRISM Calendar (Prospective Record of the Impact and Severity of Menstrual symptoms), I just found it and I’m using to help me learn patterns, symptoms, and mood-swing brain-fog warnings.

    Learning about PMS and PMDD helped me understand hormones overall-

    Premenstrual Syndrome and Menstrual-Related Disorders

    Patricia Quinn, M.D. is a great source for women’s ADHD/hormones info. There are several links within this article:

    Changing Estrogen Levels Affect Women’s ADHD Symptoms—Part Three

    sidenote: SSRIs are always the default when doctors don’t really know what to do, but SSRIs make life much worse for me.

    in reply to: Progesterone and ADHD (Birth Control) #131011
    Amy Jo

    I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 46, prior to that I was just stupid, spacy, depressed, anxious, bitchy… the usual stuff.

    Here’s what I’ve learned with the help of some really great docs and a couple of horrible docs. To be clear, this is just MY experience with MY body.

    BC = hormonal birth control in any delivery form: pill, patch, ring, shot, etc.

    Progesterone is practically toxic to my brain:
    -In my 20’s I got the BC shot and ended up in the psych ward.
    -In my early 40’s I was prescribed bioidentical progesterone cream for perimenopause and almost ended up in the psych ward again.
    -Nobody made the connection until an amazing OB/GYN who LISTENED to my WHOLE history.

    There is a difference in the type and amount/ratio of the hormones in each brand.
    -Our natural hormones are still “active in us” and still fluctuate even when we’re using BC!
    -When My doctors or clinics would change my brand BC I had no idea (for 25 years) the epic impact it was having on my emotions and ADHD.
    -This explains why there were times in my life I felt crazier (actually my undiagnosed ADHD) and then there were times when life was smooth-ish and I felt normal (sorry to use that word, normal, but we all know what it means to us).

    Perimenopause PMDD/PMS is another shift.
    -Don’t wait for hot flashes to think you’re in perimenopause, it starts WAY earlier.
    -My moods and brain fog fluctuate over the past 10+ years.
    -What works for several years suddenly doesn’t.
    -I’m 53 years old and my doc is working with me to adjust meds again.
    -Sometimes decreasing certain meds has helped – always do it with the help of a doc.

    Doctors who actually know about ADHD and specialize in female hormones:
    -A sexual health specialist tested my sex-hormone-binding-globulin(SHBG) and found that level was very high, as a result, all my hormones were being attached to the SHBG and therefore not bio-available/free.
    -My previous doctors only tested my basic hormone levels and everything looked ok; in reality, the SHBG created the same symptoms as if I had no hormones at all.
    -I finally found a psych who actually knows about ADHD and will work WITH me and listens to the research and info I bring him – what a difference!

    Track symptoms and moods!
    -It doesn’t need to be elaborate or perfect, just whatever you will actually use consistently. I used a basic paper calendar, now I just make notes in iCal; I added a sub-calendar so I review that info easier. There are some good apps too.
    -It has really helped me

    My biggest challenge is to not make any rash decisions while I’m under the influence of the ADHD Hormone cocktail… The “problems” “causing” my emotions seem SO REAL! When in fact it’s the ADHD and hormones.

    I hope some of this info helps. If nothing else, just know I’m one more woman in your tribe, you’re not alone and you’re not crazy, and you are loved (albeit virtually).
    Advocate for our next generations of women, they STILL don’t teach this in health class!
    It takes a lot of effort on our parts to keep digging for answers, this website is great resource.

    All my best to you!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Amy Jo.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Penny Williams.
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