Why Does Menopause Cause Brain Fog?

Have you felt a brain fog descending recently? Forgotten names? Lost concentration… You’re not alone. Dr Stephanie Goodwin, a London-based GP and menopause specialist, can help you out of your daze.

Is menopause to blame for forgetfulness?

If you’re wondering whether your forgetfulness,  inability to think clearly or lack of concentration is down to menopause you could be right. Welcome to menopausal brain fog. Several studies have shown that cognitive decline at this time of your life is not uncommon which is why you may also struggle to learn new things.

Is oestrogen loss the cause of brain fog?

Recent studies in Massachusetts and Boston have found that the way women performed at certain memory tasks tended to dip as their oestrogen levels dipped and they were also shown to have different levels of activity in the hippocampus area of the brain which is responsible for memory processing.

The studies looked at 200 men and women aged 45 to 55 and used standard research to check memory skills as well as looking at brain activity on an MRI scanner. Both of these things confirmed that some menopausal woman who had low levels of estradiol (a form of oestrogen produced by the ovaries) were right in thinking they had memory issues.

Do all menopausal women get brain fog?

Only some women. One third of the women scored high on the memory test despite having low estradiol and “menopausal” brain activity.  It is not known why this is – it could be because their brains are recruiting oestrogen from other sources, it could be that some women are resistant due to a lifetime of mental and physical exercise.

Is the memory loss permanent?

There is a further twist in these menopausal changes and that is that in some women their memory seems to just bounce back.

Can HRT help ease menopause brain fog?

Whilst this area of medicine appears to still have some secrets to unlock, some women do find taking HRT helps and in terms of what generally benefits good cognitive function there is pretty consistent advice about doing exercise as this positively influences the delivery of neurochemicals throughout the brain.  

Can we eat ourselves less forgetful?

Yes, look after yourself diet wise too. Low blood sugar levels can help with concentration and there are certain food stuffs that are recognised as being beneficial for the brain such as oily fish or a handful of almonds.

Any other tips for brain fog?

Think about taking up a new activity to challenge your brain like learning a language or a musical instrument. Finally don’t make things worse, make sure you are getting plenty of rest and relaxation rather than perpetually running at top gear.

Read more from Dr Stephanie Goodwin and find out about her clinic, at www.drstephaniegoodwin.co.uk

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