"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Menopause and Brain Fog: What's the Link?

Getting to the precise word. I ponder why you walked into the room. Forgetting appointments. These symptoms of “brain fog” could also be common in midlife, but our birthday gathering doesn't necessarily tell the entire story.

With midlife comes menopause, and latest research suggests that cognitive blips could also be linked to how severely we experience menopausal symptoms — especially depression and sexual problems resembling painful sex. , low desire, or trouble with excitement.

Stages and symptoms

Published online January 12, 2022 by the journal Menopause, the study focused on 404 women aged 40 to 65 in India who weren't using hormone therapy. The researchers divided the ladies into groups based on their stage of menopause to match how often and the way severely they experienced various symptoms. The researchers also examined how the severity of menopausal symptoms related to cognitive performance in areas resembling memory, attention and language skills.

Late postmenopausal participants, whose periods had stopped greater than five years ago, scored highest for depression and sexual dysfunction, while anxiety and hot flashes were mostly reported amongst those that had five. Entered menopause lower than a yr ago.

Estrogen drop accountable?

After adjusting the outcomes for aspects resembling age, marital status, and education level, the researchers found that severe depression and high sexual dysfunction were significantly related to cognitive performance as single symptoms. No link has been found between hot flashes and brain performance, although previous research has shown conflicting results.

The study had several limitations. Although this shows a relationship between the severity of menopausal symptoms and cognitive problems, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect relationship. We don't even know which got here first—the depression and sex problems, or the brain fog. “We just see that it happened at the same time,” says Dr. Hirsch.

Why might this occur? Dr. Hirsch explains that with estrogen receptors in virtually every organ, our bodies are extremely sensitive to hormone fluctuations. This signifies that the lack of estrogen itself can dictate how our brain works. Ultimately, nonetheless, “we don't know why this happens,” says Dr. Joffe, “because there are a lot of things going on during the menopausal transition with decreased estrogen.”

Dealing with brain fog

Dr. Joffe and Dr. Hirsch offer these strategies for overcoming brain fog.

stay calm. Worrying about pondering and memory problems can actually make them worse. “Awareness is valuable, but make it easy on yourself,” says Dr. Joffe. “Menopause is an intense time in life, and the mind and body undergo changes in midlife.”

Challenge yourself. Take a special path to familiar destinations just like the food market and walk the aisles in a special pattern once you get there. “You want to create new memories and new processes instead of always following a habit and routine,” says Dr. Joffe.

Proceed. Regular exercise advantages your mind in addition to the remaining of your body, with research showing it improves cognition.

Focus “How many of us walk into a room and say, 'Why am I here?' That's because we thought of three other things along the way,” says Dr. Joffe. “Slow down, and prioritize one thing.”

Write it down. Sticky notes, lists, and other reminders pay big dividends once you're feeling overwhelmed.

sleep more This could be a tall order during menopause, as a drop in estrogen levels has also been linked to insomnia. Cut back on caffeine, and skip caffeinated drinks after lunch.

Treat underlying conditions. Treat depression or mood problems with cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, or a mix.

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