If you feel as though you are losing your mind, or wondering if it is possible to develop
Alzheimer’s in your 40s, don’t despair- it may be menopause. Inability to concentrate is one
of the many symptoms of menopause that can make you feel as though you are slowly losing
control of your faculties. Not to worry: many women experience difficulties with memory and
concentration during menopause.
Why does this occur? If you think about all of the changes that your body is experiencing, you
will begin to realize that something’s got to give, and that something may just be your ability
to concentrate. For example, your sleep may be disrupted by night sweats. You wake up tired,
feel exhausted all day, and then go to bed at night to begin the cycle again. Mood changes
associated with menopause, such as depression, anxiety and irritability, also affect your ability to concentrate, as do near-constant hot flashes. It’s actually remarkable that women can remember their own name and concentrate long enough to dress themselves properly in the morning, let alone complete any task more complicated than this!
So what can be done to improve concentration? If you are finding that your concentration is
suffering, try these remedies:
Get more sleep- lack of sleep may be the largest contributor to concentration problems. Try to ensure that you are getting an adequate night’s rest. If night sweats are an issue, try putting a fan in the room. Wear night clothing that will wick moisture away from your skin and toss those silk sheets. If you are suffering from insomnia, you may want to try a natural supplement such as valerian, kava, melatonin, or chamomile; if natural remedies are ineffective, consider talking to your physician about a prescription sleep aid.
Hit the gym- exercise improves blood flow, which can certainly help if you are having difficulty concentrating. Just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise can make you feel more mentally alert. Not only will you be able to concentrate better, but you will also get the added benefit of keeping your waistline trim. In addition, the natural endorphins released by your brain when you exercise can improve your mood and decrease aches and pains as well. Although you may not feel motivated to exercise, exercise has many benefits during menopause.
Improve your diet- a poor diet may contribute to decreased ability to concentrate and “brain fog”. Make sure you eat a complete and balanced diet, including lean proteins, dairy products, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Isoflavones (natural phytoestrogens) found in soya are believed to improve many of the symptoms of menopause, including brain fog.
In fact, women in Asia who eat a diet high in soya foods have fewer menopause symptoms.
Omega-3 fats (such as those found in oily fish) are also thought to increase brain power.
Antioxidants (found in fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts and cereals) prevent cell damage and are thought to be very good for improving brain function. Menopause products like Kuhl Care (http://www.kuhlcare) can also provide the exact nutrients that women need during menopause.
Use it so you don’t lose it- in order to improve memory and concentration, try activities that
encourage you to use your brain. Sudoku puzzles, crossword puzzles, card games and any other activity that stimulates you to think and problem solve will help to keep your mind sharp and your attention focused.
The most important thing to remember about the cognitive changes associated with
menopause is that it is a temporary state- cognitive symptoms will disappear, as will all the
other symptoms that may be plaguing you. Women can and do survive menopause with their
brain function intact, and you will too!
Perimenopause: Rocky road to menopause. Harvard Health Publications.
Loss of concentration, forgetfulness and memory changes. PerimenopauseSympyoms.org.