One big thing you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your doctor about your cycle

My Hormonology

One big thing you shouldn’t be afraid to tell your doctor about your cycle

docvisitI start off most of my days visiting PubMed–a place where you can find millions of published medical studies. It’s where I go to get a heads-up on the latest hormone research that I can then share with you.

In general, I look for the kind of hormone studies that can apply to a large swath of women. You know, like about how hormones impact mood, energy, relationships, PMS, menstrual cramps, etc. Stuff many of us can relate to.

So, when I saw this study about the relationship between Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and women’s cycles, I mentally sidelined it to my Twitter account since ADHD is just a tad too specific for this Hormonology blog.

But, then I noticed something about this study that I realized is really important for you to know.

Let me explain:

In their summary of this study, the researchers point out that it’s key to take into account where a woman is in her cycle when assessing her ADHD symptoms. That’s because the rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone could impact their intensity.

This reminded me of other studies I’ve come across over the years that have suggested other conditions are impacted by the rise and fall of hormones. One study I remember off the top of my head showed how our cholesterol level goes up and down depending on where we are in our cycle. (A quick peek on PubMed shows me that a new study has actually taken another look at this very topic.)

Anyway, here’s what I want to point out from all this:

If you feel that a condition you have–whether it’s physical or psychological or somewhere in-between–fluctuates with your cycle, don’t ignore it.

Bring it up to your health care provider. Let her or him know you’ve noticed this cycling change. Keep a journal to record how your symptoms are affected week to week or even day to day so you can talk about specifics.

And if you have to take a medical test–like having your cholesterol or blood pressure checked–and the results aren’t normal, ask if you can take the test during two or more points in your cycle, such as Week 2 (which starts 8 days from the onset of your period and is when estrogen is high and rising) and Week 4 (your premenstrual week when estrogen is low and dropping).

This way, if you need treatment–for instance, a medicine, supplements or dietary changes–it may help your health care provider tailor it around your cycle. Some women, for example, take a higher dose of medication in their premenstrual week when symptoms worsen. Then they taper it off once their period gets underway.

The idea that health conditions can fluctuate with our cycles is a relatively new idea for researchers and doctors–even if many of us gals already noticed this long ago.

So, when you bring it up to your health care provider, not only will she or he become more familiar with the concept, you could be helping yourself get better treatment.

If you let your health care provider in on your cycling symptoms, let me know how it worked out!

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