Menopause is a natural transition which culimates with menstruation stopping. Many of the physical and mental changes and symptoms which occur during this transition can cause discomfort (Peacock, 2022). Some of the most common are related to concentration problems.
These problems are more commonly known as brain fog and are a variety of discomforts that affect concentration (Marcin, 2018).
But why do they occur? Well, although it is not yet fully understood, the following is known (Conde, 2021) (Maki, 2020):
- In menopause, there is a decrease in hormones such as oestrogen or progesterone.
- These hormones help maintain and protect the brain.
- In turn, their decrease can generate symptoms such as hot flushes, which stress the mind and even reduce sleep quality or cause sleep disorders.
- All of the above, together with other stressors that may be happening (such as eating problems), end up wearing down the mind.
- When this happens, you may experience confusion, memory problems, and, in general, brain fog.
Today we explain everything about the subject, including what these problems are, their signs and symptoms, and our recommendations.
What are concentration problems, and what causes them in menopause?
As mentioned before, concentration problems arise from many different factors and there are many reasons why you may be experiencing a cloudy mind; including (Conde, 2021; Gava, 2019, Nall, 2019):
- Fatigue or tiredness.
- Mood disorders, including chronic depression.
- Hot flushes, restless legs syndrome, and other causes of insomnia.
- Acute stress (Bilodeau, 2021).
These may not only be responsible for a cloudy mind but also cause a variety of additional signs and symptoms to look out for.
Signs and symptoms of brain fog
Among the signs and symptoms that can happen to women with a clouded mind during menopause we find (Jaff, 2021; Gava, 2019; Nall, 2019):
- Humour changes.
- A weakening of the memory accompanied by forgetfulness. It is very common to forget where you leave objects such as keys or that you cannot remember recent events.
- Decrease in learning abilities or verbal fluency.
- Difficulty focusing thought to solve specific problems.
- It becomes more challenging to make decisions or even perform complex tasks.
These symptoms can appear mild to a medical profession and as such to diagnose brain fog correctly, specialised tests and interviews need to be conducted (Conde, 2021).
Tips to fight concentration problems
Although it can feel worrying and scary to experience brain fog, you can continue to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. Here are are our top tips for staying calm and relaxed during these moments (Bilodeau, 2021, Levine, 2021):
- If you feel confused or foggy, don’t hesitate to stop for a moment and breathe.
- Avoid tobacco and limit your consumption of alcohol.
- Do you know how to avoid anxiety? We recommend trying a new sport or hobby which can give you a more fulfilled life.
- Seek help if you do feel anxious oor stressed. Meditation and exercise can often help.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Maintain good sleep hygiene to improve sleep quality.
- Practice tricks to improve your memory, such as keeping a to-do list, using mnemonics, or using a friend or family member to help practice the topic you want to memorise.
Now that you know what concentration problems are in menopause, what causes them, and the different signs and symptoms that allow you to recognise them, don’t hesitate to follow our advice. If you feel memory or concentration failures, no matter how minor, please speak to your medical professional.
Bilodeau, K. (2021). Sleep, stress, or hormones? Brain fog during perimenopause. Harvard Health. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sleep-stress-or-hormones-brain-fog-during-perimenopause-202104092429
Conde, D. M., Verdade, R. C., Valadares, A., Mella, L., Pedro, A. O., & Costa-Paiva, L. (2021). Menopause and cognitive impairment: A narrative review of current knowledge. World journal of psychiatry, 11(8), 412–428. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v11.i8.412
Gava, G., Orsili, I., Alvisi, S., Mancini, I., Seracchioli, R., & Meriggiola, M. C. (2019). Cognition, mood, and sleep in menopausal transition: The Role of Menopause Hormone Therapy. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 55(10), 668. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55100668
Jaff, N. G., & Maki, P. M. (2021). Scientific insights into brain fog during the menopausal transition. Climacteric, 24(4), 317–318. doi:10.1080/13697137.2021.1942700
Levine, por: H. (2021). Conoce cómo la menopausia afecta el cerebro. AARP. Retrieved from: https://www.aarp.org/espanol/salud/salud-cerebral/info-2021/menopausia-afecta-el-cerebro.html
Maki, P. M., & Thurston, R. C. (2020). Menopause and brain Health: hormonal changes are only part of the story. Frontiers in Neurology, 11. doi:10.3389/fneur.2020.562275
Marcin, A. (2018). Menopause brain fog: symptoms, treatment, is it real, and more. Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-brain-fog
Nall, R. (2019). What makes you unable to concentrate? Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate
Peacock, K., & Ketvertis, K. M. (2022). Menopause. En StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507826/