Do you keep losing your cell phone? Forgetting acquaintances’ names?
Memory issues and difficulty concentrating—also referred to as “brain fog”—are common complaints among women in the months or years leading up to and during menopause.
Add mood swings and anxiety, and it’s no wonder you might feel overwhelmed by what’s happening “in your head.”
Hormonal fluctuation and the decrease in estrogen production that comes with menopause can cause a number of symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and sexual dysfunction. Though brain fog and moodiness could be attributed to normal aging and poor sleep due to night sweats, some data suggest that hormonal fluctuations might also be a contributing factor.
The good news is that other data imply that mood swings level off and memory returns to pre-menopausal function after the menopause transition. And exercise, which has been shown to have positive effects on brain activity and mental abilities, can be particularly helpful in managing brain fog. You also can improve your memory and manage your moods by staying intellectually engaged, socially connected, by maintaining a healthy diet, not smoking, and minimizing alcohol consumption. Try incorporating these suggestions into your daily routine; if possible for support, partner with a friend.
As always, if you feel your symptoms are becoming unmanageable, consult your health care provider.