Not Drinking Enough Water
Many studies have found that dehydration can affect your motor coordination, problem-solving, and also your ability to pay attention.1 Even mild dehydration, being as little as 2% dehydrated, can have a huge impact on brain function, as well as just about everything else in the menopause, too.
And for those of you who’ve been following me for a while, you will know just how important water is for absolutely everything.
Keep Memory Loss At Bay
Menopause is a really important time for you to stop and think about your health and to make taking care of yourself one of your top priorities. Your general lifestyle can have enormous effects on menopause symptoms and the more you do to manage your own health, the more you can keep symptoms like memory loss at bay.
Is It Menopause Brain Fog Or Dementia
This question comes up a lot at Gennev women cant remember where they left their keys a friends name suddenly pops out of their brains they cant retrieve the right word in conversation and they fear they may be experiencing early-onset dementia.
While brain fog is irritating, its generally just that irritating. Dementia is far more likely to disrupt life and normal activities. Have you stopped doing tasks you normally did because you feel unable to do them? That might indicate a more serious issue.
If youre worried your memory lapses may be more serious, there are many signs of Aazheimers and a number you can call to speak with an expert about your concerns.
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Does Your Brain Sometimes Feel A Little Foggy
A huge number of women suffer from a variety of psychological symptoms during perimenopause and menopause including anxiety, panic attacks, brain fog and feelings of invisibility. In this blog Catherine O’Keeffe, Wellness Warrior.ie, looks at brain fog and gives us her top tips to achieve optimal brain function. Some of us need to support our brain function as hormones readjust at menopause.
Brain Fog Is Memory Impairment
The ability to acquire and use knowledge is called cognition. Most women do not give this process much thought until they have difficulties with it. Imagine this. You have worked hard throughout your career and reached your career goal of senior vice president of marketing. You meet with your team biweekly. Of course, the meetings are by Zoom nowadays. You have never had to write down your agenda or take notes during your work sessions, but you have noticed yourself carrying a notepad with you everywhere.
Your first stop is your doctors office. You have a thorough physical exam, cognitive testing, and lab work. Everything is normal. Good news, right? You are completely healthy, but that does not explain the symptoms you are having:
- Trouble paying attention
- Word-finding problems
- Taking longer to make a decision or solve a problem
It is a relief that you do not meet the criteria for dementia, and any fears that you may have had that your symptoms indicate early Alzheimers disease have been allayed. However, you are still uncomfortable with the knowledge that your brain function has changed. Though the change may be subtle, it is affecting your job performance. It may be due to menopause, a natural process, but it impacts your relationships and career, and you are hoping there is a solution to treat and ultimately beat postmenopausal brain fog.
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Take Note Of Specific Things That Make You Feel Forgetful
This might seem obvious, but it can be easy to ignore certain themes and patterns that make you forget things. For example, its common to forget whats going on around you when you feel angry.
If you notice this happening to you , consider writing down what happened, your resulting emotion, and its effect on your mental clarity.
What Causes Brain Fog
During perimenopause, your hormones fluctuate wildly as your body transitions into its non-reproductive phase. Estrogen, progesterone, follicular stimulating hormone , and luteinizing hormone are your reproductive hormones. These hormones affect many different systems in your body, including your brain. Not only do these hormones affect your cognition and memory, but they can also negatively impact your mood. Furthermore, some symptoms of perimenopause, such as sleep dysfunction and hot flashes, also contribute to brain fog.
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Menopause Brain Fog: Symptoms And Treatment
Menopause brain fog is real, and its more prevalent than you might think. But you can improve your brain fog symptoms.
If you are journeying through menopause and you find yourself experiencing memory loss or having trouble focusing, you arent alone. Two out of three women say that they regularly experience brain fog and forgetfulness in the years leading up to the change, and its yet another way that this major milestone in life can feel so intimidating and stressful.
But dont let menopause brain fog overwhelm you. With the right understanding of when, how and why you experience brain fog, you can take away some of the uncertainty surrounding these sometimes-alarming symptoms. And you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to better manage menopause brain fog, boost your brain health, and take back a sense of control over your own mind and body.
How To Treat Menopause Brain Fog
First off, menopause brain fog treatment can be actually postponed in case there are slight memory problems such as you forget where is your mobile phone, or when was the last time you visited a shop. However, doctors insist on consultations in the events, when cognitive problems only deteriorate and you daily forget basic things that make brain fog and menopause intolerable.
The basic treatment will start with a medical examination that will allow a specialist to exclude the probability of dementia or Alzheimers disease. The latter problem is serious and requires prompt attention. If they are out of the question, there is no need to worry.
Usually, the basic menopause brain fog treatment consists of hormonal therapy. A woman should take low doses of estrogen or compounded formula of progesterone and estrogen. This solution will not only affect your mind positively but other symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and somehow decreased libido.
Some ladies are scared of taking hormone therapy because of the risks of putting weight or skin problems. Doctors control such manifestations of climax cognitive dysfunction treatment. So, it is quite safe. However, if you undergo low-term therapy, there is a big risk of development of breast cancer, thyroid problems, and so on. Again, if a woman is under the strict supervision of dedicated experts, there are no issues and no aggravation of mental problems that are sometimes inherent to a climax.
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Why Menopause Brain Fog
When you enter perimenopause, your body goes through a lot of changes that can easily affect your memory. We think changes are related to changing hormones during this timemostly loss of estrogen, says Miriam Weber, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester. But, they may also be related to sleep disturbance, increases in depression and anxiety, and hot flashes.
In a study led by Weber and published in the journal Menopause, women experiencing menopause brain fog were also more likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
A good fitness program can help put your body and mind at ease. Check out the workouts from Aaptiv today.
Take Care Of Your Sleep And Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm is deeply connected with inflammation and both can cause the other to get out of balance.
Circadian disruption increases inflammation .
The circadian rhythm is also tied to oxidative stress .
Disrupting your circadian rhythm will result in brain fog, as happens during jet lag. Some people are more sensitive to circadian disruptions. It can come about for a variety of reasons, but the most common are:
- Lack of light during the day
- Too much light at night
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Chronic inflammation
Disrupting circadian rhythms can also lead to heart diseases, neurodegenerative conditions, and cancer .
People with brain fog are often wired but tired at night, fatigued in the day, and lack a cortisol spike in the AM. They can be hot at night and wake up to pee multiple times.
These are all symptoms of circadian disruption I used to have.
Now I get tired at night and am awake in the day. I feel warmer in the day and cooler at night and dont get hypoglycemic at night. My vasopressin release has normalized so I dont wake up to pee. I wake up refreshed and ready to hit the day when my circadian rhythm is working properly.
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How Can I Help Myself Keep A Healthy Working Memory
Research shows that many different things affect how well people remember, at any age. If you know what they are, you can often use this information to help your own memory functions. For example, when you are upset, you cannot concentrate well and so may not learn what you ultimately want to remember. Sometimes it seems that a persons memory is not working well and the real reason is that they are distracted. For example, if you enter a room to get something and the telephone rings, you may forget what you went into the room for.
When you do not pay attention, you are not likely to register information in the first place. Paying attention takes effort. Think of the times you rush out the door, forgetting something. Perhaps you need to slow down and pause. For example, do you ever wonder whether you have already done something, such as turning the oven off or turning the light out in the basement? To increase your ability to remember, you need to pay attention to what you are doing, so that it will register in your memory.
Breathing Techniques For Menopausal Brain Fog
Mindful, deep breathing is a simple yet powerful tool to clear menopausal brain fog quickly. Daily meditation relaxes the body, makes you breathe slower, and helps to reduce stress.
Check out the benefits of Yoga after hysterectomyResearchers at the Karolinska Institutet of Sweden discovered that when we breathe through our nose instead of through our mouth, we can learn and memorize certain smells way better.
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How Do I Know If I Have Brain Fog Or Dementia
When I posed this question to Professor John Eden at WHRIA, he answered that it can be difficult, and often the simplest way to find out is to give women two months of hormone therapy and see if their symptoms improve .
The symptoms of dementia and brain fog may be similar, but remember that dementia is a disease of unhealthy ageing.
Jen Gunter reminds us that dementia is uncommon in women in their 40s and 50s, and men of the same age rarely worry about memory lapses, she notes,
The way we think about menopause feels like an exercise in confirmation bias about the supposed ineptitude of older women.
Jen Gunter, The Menopause Manifesto
Dementia often begins with lapses in memory and difficulty in finding the right words for everyday objects, and according to Alzheimers Australia, other symptoms may include:
- Persistent and frequent memory difficulties, especially of recent events
- Vagueness in everyday conversation
- Apparent loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities
- Taking longer to do routine tasks
- Forgetting well-known people or places
- Inability to process questions and instructions
- Deterioration of social skills
- Emotional unpredictability
It is important to realise a certain degree of forgetfulness is normal at any stage of life. We all have tip-of-the-tongue moments, call our children by the wrong name, or cant remember why we walked into a room. We just tend to become more conscious of them and fret over moments of memory loss the older we get.
Soy Protein Supplements Could Help
Isoflavone-rich soy protein may or may not be helpful. There is data showing a modest benefit of soy isoflavone supplementation on cognitive function in postmenopausal women. However, women should consult their primary care physician or gynecologist before taking any supplement or over the counter remedy, says Weber.
The good news is that the onset of menopause doesnt mean that youll lose your short-term memory forever. Our best data suggests that these changes are temporary, and memory rebounds sometime in postmenopause, says Weber. However, many cognitive functions change with age. We would not expect a woman in her 60s to have the same memory ability, or ability to multitask, as a woman in her 30s.
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Natural Treatments For Brain Fog
Roll up your sleeves, because its about to get all science-y up in here. The best natural remedy for menopausal brain fog might be thinking. Learning. Using your brain in new ways helps it learn to learn again.
Research scientists Denise Park and Gérard Bischof define neuroplasticity as the brains ability to increase capacity in response to sustained experience. Because the human brain is plastic, its flexible enough to reorganize itself and form new neural connections. Our plastic might become a bit less malleable with age, but theres still plenty of opportunity to learn. And it gets easier.
Neuroplasticity typically comes up when the brain has suffered damage from, say, a stroke or accident. When part of the brain is damaged, the function it controls may be lost or impaired: the person may no longer be able to speak or they might lose the ability to walk. Neuroplasticity allows the brain to reroute the function to other, undamaged areas of the brain.
In fact, our brains are constantly reorganizing, like a computer defragmenting to make more space and increase efficiency. And we can take advantage of that fact, even when our brains arent damaged by anything more than age.
Exercise To Improve Memory
Exercise may well be the best tool to help with brain fog. Your heart rate and blood flow increase through cardiovascular exercise, which supplies the brain with more oxygen and nutrients. Aim for about 5 days of 30-minute cardio exercises each week. This can be in the form of brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling. According to this study, brisk daily walks can lower one’s risk of developing dementia at a later date by 38%. Even an activity as simple as daily gardening will lower that risk by 36%.
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How To Manage Menopausal Brain Fog
Since 75% of the human brain is comprised of water, even negligible levels of dehydration may compromise cognitive functions, which can lead to memory-related issues and poor concentration .Make a conscious effort to drink more water every day. Have two glasses of water as soon as you wake up in the morning or set an alarm every hour to get up from your desk and drink a glass of water. You could add lemon, mint, or cucumber for flavour to make your drink more flavoursome and refreshing.
The Final Big Question: Does Menopause Hormone Therapy Cause Or Prevent Dementia
So far the focus of this article is on MHT and brain fog. Remembering that brain fog is not the same as cognitive decline or dementia.
Whether MHT provides protection against cognitive aging and Alzheimers disease remains unclear.
Overall, hormone therapys efficacy is thought to depend on the timing of when you start taking it with respect to age at menopause the so-called critical window theory whereby the earlier you start treatment the safer. This is especially the case for younger women who have surgical menopause.
For older women who start taking hormone therapy after the age of 65 , they experience accelerated cognitive decline and dementia.
And the official line on menopause hormone therapy from the Australian Menopause Society
- At present, it is premature to recommend MHT for cognitive function until more substantiated clinical correlates are available.
- Lessening vasomotor symptoms with MHT or non-hormonal treatments may improve cognitive function.
- Improving sleep, using mnemonic devices or engaging in physical activity may also lessen menopause transition cognitive deficits.
- Cognitive testing is not indicated unless the symptoms are progressive and interfere with work performance or relationships.
And Ill leave the last word to the heroic Jen Gunter,
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Evaluate + Adjust Your Lifestyle
This should be no surprise, but your lifestyle is really what dictates your menopause experience and this applies to menopause brain fog too. Here are some lifestyle factors you can start to implement immediately:
- Establish healthy habits in terms of diet and exercise. Visit our Menopause FAQ and Menopause Diet Advice for more incremental, achievable diet + exercise advice.
- Engage in social activities no matter your age. Whether in person or on Zoom, making time to be social can drastically improve your cognitive health.
- Make time to relax and reduce stress. Some researchers have found that people who participate in leisurely activities are less likely to develop dementia.
- Learn new skills continuously. Dont use your age as an excuse to stop learning new skills! You should never stop challenging your brain. Consider taking up a new hobby thats been on your mind.
- Use products that help to balance your hormones on a regular basis. Our menopause relief products include wild yam, which can help to balance your hormones and relieve all kinds of menopause-related annoyances.
Consider these suggestions as an excuse to indulge in some self-care. You deserve it!