I Have A Hard Time Concentrating And I’m Forgetful Is This A Normal Part Of Menopause
Unfortunately, difficulty with concentration and minor memory problems can often be a normal part of perimenopause, the time leading up to menopause . The good news is that it is likely to be temporary.
Current medical knowledge is limited as to why memory changes occur with perimenopause, and there are currently no treatments available to relieve these symptoms. If you are having memory problems, discuss this with your doctor. They can help manage memory problems or refer you to a provider who can.
A Postscript From June Girvin July :
To all you lovely women who have commented on this blog THANK YOU.When I wrote this in 2015, I had no idea it would still be being read and resonating with women 5 years later. I also spent quite a while making my mind up whether to share such a personal experience. I am so glad I did if knowing that you are not alone has helped just one other woman, just one little bit, then it is so worthwhile. And to see so many of you posting and talking to each other about your experiences and supporting each other is a joy. I hope all of you find your way through, with or without medical help. Good luck.June
Estrogen As The Biddable Nurturing Hormone
The whole nurturing thing is really a big deal. I dont just mean in relation to children because not every woman has children. I dont have children, but nonetheless, throughout the years, Ive found myself looking after this person, reaching out, supporting friends, really caring for my job, and caring for my parents.
Youre doing all these things because thats what women do and although I never felt driven in any particular direction, it was almost instinct. When youd think in those terms, its actually probably the hormones doing it because women are very nurturing.
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Complementary And Alternative Treatments
Some women consider taking complementary and alternative treatments instead of taking hormone replacement therapy . There is a massive market for products to help with menopausal symptoms, but many of these are not proven to be safe or do not have good research to support their effectiveness.
For example, the following have been marketed for menopausal symptoms: black cohosh, red clover, dong quai, evening primrose oil, ginseng, soy and St John’s wort.
However, just because a product is labelled ‘natural’ does not mean that it is automatically safe and free from potentially damaging chemicals. Herbal remedies are not regulated by a medicine authority in the same way as prescribed medicines are. They should not be considered as a safer alternative to HRT, as there is so much variety in their effectiveness and potency. Many herbal medicines have unpredictable doses and purity. In addition, some products have significant side-effects and can interfere with other medicines.
The regulatory bodies have developed a system called Traditional Herbal Registration . Any herbal products that have been approved by this system have a THR logo on their packs. This means that the product has the correct dosage and is of a high quality. The pack will also contain product information.
Isoflavones and black cohosh
Does Food Play A Role
Some have suggested that menopause was much easier for Asian women than for Westernersat least while women followed traditional, mostly plant-based diets. Hot flashes have been reported by only about 10 percent of women in China,1 17.6 percent of women in Singapore,2 and 22.1 percent of women in Japan.3 In contrast, it is estimated that hot flashes are experienced by 75 percent of women over the age of 50 in the United States.4 Whether these differences might be partly due to reluctance in reporting symptoms among Asians is not entirely clear. And as Asias diets gradually westernize, these differences are likely to disappear anyway.
But we do know that, throughout their lives, Western women consume much more meat, and about four times as much fat, as women on traditional Asian rice-based diets, and only one-quarter to one-half the fiber. For reasons that have never been completely clear, a high-fat, low-fiber diet causes a rise in estrogen levels. Women on higher-fat diets have measurably more estrogen activity than do those on low-fat diets. At menopause, the ovaries production of estrogen comes to a halt. Those women who have been on high-fat diets then have a dramatic drop in estrogen levels. The drop appears to be less dramatic for Asian women who have lower levels of estrogen both before and after menopause. The resulting symptoms are much milder or even nonexistent.
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Reduce Refined Sugar And Processed Foods
In fact, one study found that diets high in refined carbs may increase the risk of depression in postmenopausal women .
Diets high in processed foods may also affect bone health.
A large observational study found that among women aged 5059 years, diets high in processed and snack foods were associated with poor bone quality .
Diets high in processed foods and refined carbs are associated with a higher risk of depression and worse bone health in postmenopausal women.
The Impact Of Stress And The Myth Of Having It All
The biggest thing for women is the impact of stress. Were the sandwich generation, arent we? Beyond being sandwiched, between looking after elderly parents and looking after children, theres also the sense that were the first to really come through and try and shine in the workplace while having it all.
Looking back, most women would probably think they couldnt have it all. They might have tried to and it might have looked like they did, but at what cost? The cost is going to be themselves.
I work with women in my clinic and they are just ground down. Theyve driven themselves so hard to be the perfect executive woman, the perfect mother running around, trying to get the cupcakes ready for school while theyve got a workshop or presentation to get ready for the board, or whatever theyre doing.
While were hardwired to nurture, the one person we dont nurture is ourselves and thats where it really needs to come in for menopause. Stuff can catch up with you.
If youve been driving yourself incredibly hard, then its going to drag you down and its particularly going to affect your bodys ability to manage stress, your resilience. If youve got a lack of resilience, by the time you come into menopause, then the bodys backup plan for estrogen just simply cant kick in.
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How To Treat Emotional Symptoms
Antidepressants: If you have major depression, especially at the start of menopause, your doctor might prescribe a standard antidepressant. It can take 4-6 weeks for effects to set in. Be aware, though, that they can sometimes cause edginess and insomnia. You might need to weigh the benefits against side effects.
Hormone replacement therapy : Some studies show that taking estrogen can help ease mild depression in early menopause. It can also boost the effects of an antidepressant. Your doctor might want you to try it if other treatments donât help. As with all medications, there are risks and benefits, so be sure to talk with your doctor to make sure this is right for you.
Complementary and integrative treatments: Thereâs a wide range of relaxation methods you can learn online, in a class, or with a book, CD, or DVD. You can tap into:
- Deep, paced, or relaxation breathing
- Guided imagery
- Holistic practices like tai chi and yoga. A 2018 study showed that yoga can help with psychological and physical symptoms of menopause. For example, it can ease hot flashes, which in turn can lower your stress.
- Massage therapy
Lifestyle changes that can help
- Eat a well-balanced diet with lots of veggies, fruits, and grains. Meanwhile, limit alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, which can make symptoms worse.
- Get creative. Tap into a fun new — or former — activity or hobby that gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Keep up with your friends and community life.
Sort out your feelings
The I Could Take It Or Leave It Loss Of Libido
Every person experiences natural ebbs and flows in desire, but if your sex drives takes a nose dive, the sudden drop may be due to menopause. Hormonal imbalances can cause a loss of libido. Other factors can contribute to a low sex drive like vaginal dryness, depression, prescription medication and relationship issues. Some of the other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and insomnia can hinder desire too.
HOW TO DEAL: Evaluate any medications youre taking with your doctor to see if they are contributing to a . Treat vaginal dryness if thats an issue. Take time for intimacy by scheduling time together away from daily stressors. Seek couples therapy if there are underlying marital or relationship issues you think are contributing to your loss of desire. I find that its important to step away from stress every once in a while and just spend happy time with your spouse or S.O!
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A Problem Shared Is A Problem Halved
Meg Matthews was so unprepared for her menopausal symptoms, which she says hit her like a tsunami, she resolved to spread the word by launching her website Megs Menopause.
Just actually talking and sharing has been the most important thing – other than getting my hormones back level again – I feel like I’m back to being a human being again and not being a neurotic wreck keeping in doors.
And Dawn advises talking to your mum about it, if you can.
If your mum went through an early menopause it is likely that you may go through one too. I tell women to make sure they talk to their daughters because more women are working full time and perhaps delaying starting a family – if you know that you might go through an early menopause, that might influence your thinking.
Celebrities whove shared their stories can also help start the conversation.
Youd be amazed how often people will come into my consulting room, either with a cut out from the newspaper or magazine or their opening line is so and so is talking about. It really is an incredibly powerful tool, it gives women a green light. Lorraine Kelly was talking about her experience and that had such a positive effect on women coming in to talk about things.
Psychological Or Social Conditions
Numerous psychological and social theories have been proffered to explain why women may become depressed during perimenopause. Some of these are related to the following factors:
Change in the childbearing role
Loss of fertility, which may be associated with a loss of an essential meaning of life
Empty nest syndrome
The societal value of youth .
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Here Are My Top Tips For How To Stop Hot Flushes Without Hrt
Understanding Whether Hrt Is Right For You And How To Balance That With Diet And Lifestyle
Its very important that women actually understand what hormone replacement therapy is . It is important that they understand the associated risks and benefits because its about weighing that up.
You need to look at your medical history, your family history, the severity of your symptoms, and then decide if its actually going to be right for you. I feel really strongly that women shouldnt be entrenched in either one camp or the other and think, its HRT or nothing or its nutrition or nothing.
You should look at everything, understand everything, ask questions about everything and then decide, whats right for you.
Some women who have particularly severe symptoms, like depression and severe anxiety may well find theyd benefit from some extra progesterone.
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Nurture That Lost Desire
Make more time for sex. Try massage and foreplay, too. Use erotica and new-for-you sex routines as ways to build desire. Hormone changes are a main cause, but other things that zap your sex drive can strike at the same time. Ask your doctor about poor sleep, bladder trouble, or feeling depressed or stressed.
Take Charge Of Your Health
Take charge of your healthQuit smokingyearly well-woman examssuccessful health goalsbetter choices for better healthThis content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
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Prevention Of Menopausal Arthritis
Luckily, there are several ways to minimize your chances of developing menopausal arthritis.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Firstly, it is essential that you maintain a healthy body weight because being overweight puts unnecessary pressure on your joints and increases the risk of arthritis. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are especially important as you reach menopause, a time when your weight often increases naturally. Avoid high-impact sports such as running or racket sports as these can make any joint problems worse. Instead, aim for gentle exercises such as swimming, cycling, yoga, or tai chi.
Keep Stress Levels to a Minimum
It is widely believed that emotional stress can increase inflammation in the body and contribute to conditions such as arthritis. Try to keep your stress levels down by practicing relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, walking in nature, or making time for a new hobby. Eat well, reduce your alcohol intake and make sure you are getting enough sleep.
Switch up Your Diet
You can also minimize your chances of developing menopausal arthritis and other inflammatory conditions by eating an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet. These diets are rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and protein, while being low in processed foods, sugar and trans-fats. You could also try incorporating some anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric and ginger into your diet.
When Hair Goes Down The Drain
Hair can thin or shed faster around the time of menopause. At the same time, it may show up where you don’t want it — on your chin and cheeks. To save what you have, switch to coloring products that don’t have harsh chemicals. Avoid the sun, which is drying. Got unwanted facial hair? Ask a skin doctor for to help wax, bleach, pluck, or zap it away.
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Dietary Solutions To Help With The Following Symptoms
The following stimulants such as tea, coffee, alcohol and chocolate may trigger hot flushes, especially when taken at night.
Avoid snacking on sugary foods, all too often a sharp rise in your blood glucose level may be followed by a sharp dip and leave you feeling tired and drained. Choose fresh fruit instead.
Many people associate the menopause with weight gain but, as we get older, we need fewer calories as our metabolic rate slows down. Eating slightly less sounds a simple solution but combined with doing more exercise, this will help. Walking is good for your heart it burns calories and helps to protect your bones from osteoporosis. Aim for 30 minutes brisk walking at least 5 times a week.
Depression and Irritability
Eat more complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, bran and brown rice as they will help to increase serotonin levels. This will help control appetite and make you feel better in yourself. Other useful strategies to help you feel less irritable are to eat breakfast and also to eat little and often which will balance your blood sugar.
Healthy balanced eating will help to keep your bones strong.
Eat meals which include a wide variety of foods from the four main groups, including
- fruit and vegetables
- milk and dairy products
A balanced diet will provide all the vitamins and minerals that you need to keep your bones healthy.
How To Have A Happy Menopause Without Hrt
This is a summary of our podcast interview with Jackie Lynch, registered nutritional therapist and author of The Happy Menopause, on how diet and lifestyle can help you manage menopause without HRT.This is a long post full of great information. But if youd like to go straight to our Happy Menopause Without HRT checklist, youll find that at the end of this post.
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