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How perimenopause & menopause can lead to brain fog & what you can do about it.

What is menopause brain fog?

If you’re a woman in your 40s or 50s, you may be going through 

menopause or the ending of your menstrual cycles. The average age to

go through this change in the United States is 51.

Symptoms are different for each woman, and include anything from night sweats to weight gain to thinning hair. Many women also reportTrusted Source feeling forgetful or having a general “brain fog” that makes it hard to concentrate.

Are memory issues part of menopause? Yes. And this “brain fog” is

more common than you might think.

What does the research say?

In one study, researchers share that some 60 percent of middle-aged

women report difficulty concentrating and other issues with cognition.

These issues spike in women going through perimenopause.

 

Perimenopause is the stage just before the menstrual cycle stops entirely.

The women in the study noticed subtle changes in memory,

but the researchers also believe that a “negative affect” may have

made these feelings more pronounced.

The researchers explain that women going through menopause may

generally feel a more negative mood, and that mood may be related to

memory issues. Not only that, but “brain fog” may also be connected with

sleep issues and vascular symptoms associated with menopause,

like hot flashes.

 

Another studyTrusted Source also focuses on the idea that women in early

stages of menopause may experience more noticeable issues with cognition.

Specifically, women in the first year of their last menstrual period scored the

lowest on tests evaluating:

  • verbal learning
  • memory
  • motor function
  • attention
  • working memory tasks

Memory for the women improved over time, which is the opposite of

what the researchers had initially hypothesized.

What’s causing this foggy thinking? Scientists believe it has something to do

with hormone changes. Estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone,

and luteinizing hormone are all responsible for different processes in the body, including cognition. Perimenopause lasts an average of 4 years, during

which time your hormone levels may fluctuate wildly and cause a range

of symptoms as the body and mind adjust.

Seeking help

Memory issues during menopause can be completely normal.

You may forget where you placed your cellphone or have trouble

remembering an acquaintance’s name. If your cognitive issues are

starting to negatively impact your daily life, however, it may be time to

see your doctor.

 

Dementia may also cause cloudy thinking. Alzheimer’s disease is the 

most common cause of dementia. It starts with difficulty remembering things

and having trouble organizing thoughts. Unlike the “brain fog” associated

with menopause, though, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease and gets

worse over time.

Other symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:

  • repeating questions or statements over and over
  • getting lost, even in familiar places
  • trouble finding the right words to identify different objects
  • difficulty performing daily tasks
  • difficulty making decisions
  • changes in mood, personality, or behavior
Treatment

In many women, menopause “brain fog” may be mild and go away on its

own with time. More severe memory issues may cause you to neglect your

personal hygiene, forget the name of familiar objects, or have difficulty

following directions.

Once your doctor has ruled out other issues, like dementia, you may explore menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). This treatment involves

taking either low-dose estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestin.

These hormones may help with the many symptoms you experience during menopause, not just memory loss.

Long-term use of estrogen may increase your risk of breast cancer, 

cardiovascular disease, and other health issues. Speak with your doctor

about the benefits versus the risks of this type of treatment.

 

Prevention

You may not be able to prevent the “brain fog” associated with menopause.

Still, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that may ease your

symptoms and improve your memory overall.

 

Eat a well-balanced diet

A diet that’s high in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and fat may

be bad for both your heart and your brain. Instead, try filling up on whole

foods and healthy fats.

The Mediterranean diet, for example, may help with brain health because it’s

rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other unsaturated fats.

Good food choices include:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • fish
  • beans and nuts
  • olive oil

Get enough rest

Your sleep quality may make your “brain fog” worse. With sleep problems high on the list of symptoms associated with menopause, getting in enough rest can be a tall order. In fact, some 61 percent of postmenopausal women report insomnia issues.

What you can do:

  • Take supplements like Cognitive Niche to help relieve symptoms of brain fog as it has Omega's and other natural herbs and amino acids to help improve symptoms of brain fog.
  • Avoid eating large meals before bedtime. And steer clear of spicy or acidic foods. They may cause hot flashes.
  • Skip stimulants like caffeine and nicotine before bed. Alcohol may also disrupt your sleep.
  • Dress for success. Don’t wear heavy clothing or pile on lots of blankets in bed. Turning down the thermostat or using a fan may help keep you cool.
  • Work on relaxation. Stress can make snoozing even more difficult. Try deep breathing, yoga, or massage.

Exercise your body

Getting regular physical activity is recommended for all people, including women going through menopause. Researchers believe that exercise may even help with symptoms like memory issues.

What you can do:

  • Try getting 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least five days a week for a total of 150 minutes. Activities to try include walking, jogging, cycling, and water aerobics.
  • Incorporate strength training into your routine as well. Try lifting free weights or using weight machines at your gym at least twice a week. You should aim to do eight exercises with 8 to 12 repetitions.

Exercise your mind

Your brain needs regular workouts as you age. Try doing crossword puzzles or starting a new hobby, like playing the piano. Getting out socially may help as well. Even keeping a list of the things you need to do in the day may help you organize your mind when you’re feeling foggy.

Takeaway

Memory and other cognition issues associated with menopause may improveTrusted Source with time. Eat well, get good sleep, exercise, and keep your mind active to help with your symptoms in the meantime.

If your “brain fog” gets worse, make an appointment with your doctor to rule out other health issues or to ask about hormone treatments for menopause.

 

Source: 

https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-brain-fog#prevention

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