Let’s talk about brain fog. That is when you feel very foggy and fuzzy, and it’s hard to focus or concentrate. This symptom affects as many as 2/3 of perimenopausal and menopausal women. So what is the cause of brain fog? No one knows for sure, but it has something to do with the fact that the brain is no longer enjoying the reliable estrogen supply it had when our ovaries were doing their jobs properly. And brain function is worse when women are not sleeping well because they are experiencing symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. Like I always say, no good can come from a bad night’s sleep!
Managing Forgetfulness and Lack of Focus
Difficulties with focus and concentration will definitely have a negative impact on your work and home life.
Try these few simple lifestyle changes to help improve your brain function:
- Create a comfortable workspace and de-clutter your desk. I should really take my own advice. You should see my desk right now!
- Exercise your brain. I like to read the New York Times.
- Break down your work projects into smaller and more manageable chunks. I am working on my blogs now. Tomorrow I will deal with my book chapter.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration is great for your whole body.
- Exercise! Did you know that intense aerobic exercise can have the same impact on the brain’s concentration ability as pharmaceutical stimulants?
- Prepare for the next day with a healthy dinner rich in brain friendly nutrients like fish, vegetables and nuts. And for goodness sake, turn off the computer and TV early enough to ensure a good night’s rest. Stop looking at your email after 9pm!
As for hormone therapy, there does appear to be a lifting of the brain fog complaint when estrogen is used for the treatment of menopausal symptoms. My own patients experience this effect all the time. It is like having an Oprah AHA moment!
Go to www.menopause.org for more information on this very important topic.