Menopause is a substantial physiological change in a woman's life. However, it also affects psychologically, where remembering and keeping track of things becomes really hard. It doesn't matter if you're premenopausal or postmenopausal, brain fog or memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Fortunately, menopausal brain fog can be treated with proper and timely health care. If you're experiencing menopausal memory issues and don't know the next step, health professional Jana Abelovska at Click Pharmacy is only a click away!
Studies show that about 60 percent of women report a decline in cognitive (thinking and memory) function during menopause. This decrease in brain function is due to lower levels of estrogen. Low estrogen also causes other menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness, mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and hot flashes.
Is there a way to improve memory during menopause?
The answer is yes! There are many ways by which you can prevent brain fog and improve your memory. Below is a list of the most effective tips and techniques for strengthening your memory and focus.
1 - Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Usually, HRT isn't used as a treatment solely for brain fog. However, it can help relieve other symptoms that worsen memory loss during menopause. For instance, HRT has proven to be effective against mood swings, insomnia, and hot flashes during menopause. Women undergoing menopause often suffer sleeplessness, which leads to poor concentration and forgetfulness.
Therefore, HRT "tricks the body into thinking it's at the premenopausal stage", says Dr Pauline Maki, PhD, director of women's health research at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Moreover, with telemedicine, you can easily reach out to health experts and get the most suitable HRT option for you.
Which HRT is best for menopause?
Postmenopausal women have to undergo continuous combined HRT for a specific period. Whereas premenopausal women are recommended cyclical HRT. A woman who didn't get her period for one year is in the postmenopausal phase. Usually, the treatment starts with cyclical HRT. It may turn into continuous combined HRT if there is little or no improvement.
2 - Start With a Healthy Diet
Any form of healing, directly or indirectly, depends on the food you eat. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help relieve many complications during menopause. Cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3s. You can also use fish oil supplements if regular salmon or mackerel is not readily available.
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce premenopausal anxiety and depression. This improvement in your mental state allows you to relax and sleep well, boosting your memory and focus. These fatty acids also improve your metabolism and help reduce inflammation in the body. Other food sources with a high concentration of omega-3s are flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and spinach.
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, etc., are high in folate. Folate is vital for proper brain function. Add more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet to fulfil primary nutrient needs, including zinc, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
What is the best diet for a menopausal woman?
Menopausal women should eat a well-balanced diet consisting of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high fibre, high-grade protein, good fats, and organic dairy products. You should avoid processed foods, trans fats, high caffeine and/or alcohol intake, and smoking during menopause.
3 - Water is Your Best Friend
Water not only helps to detoxify the body but also acts as a hormone regulator. Whether you're undergoing menopause or not, you should drink at least two litres of water daily. Avoid drinking icy water. Its extremely low temperature lowers your metabolism. Low energy levels make you feel tired and withdrawn. Drink lukewarm water for maximum benefit. Its temperature is perfect for metabolism. As a result, your body produces high energy levels needed for healing and proper brain activity.
How much water should a menopausal woman drink?
Most women, during menopause, feel dryness. This usually happens because of reduced estrogen levels. Drink at least 2-3 litres (8-12 glasses) of water daily to alleviate the symptoms. Drinking water can also help you with bloating that is caused due to hormonal changes in the body.
4 - Drink in Moderation
Unless you decide to become light or moderate drinker, alcohol won't be helpful. Red wine contains an ingredient known as resveratrol that may benefit the brain. However, red wine can only benefit you if consumed lightly or moderately. Drinking too much alcohol can also worsen your memory and other menopausal symptoms. So, if you're a light drinker, keep it that way, and if you're not, reduce your alcohol intake by adding healthy alternatives like fresh juices, smoothies, and herbal tea.
5 - Exercise!
Working out doesn't affect you physically but mentally as well. A 2021 study found that postmenopausal women who exercised regularly scored better in several memory tests and cognitive functions than those who didn't exercise as much.
Exercising daily for half an hour or more helps stabilise your endocrine system (hormonal system) and promotes coordination between your muscles and hormones. It also promotes increased concentration and memory.
Working out can be fun! Try different forms of exercise like dancing, aerobics, Zumba, yoga, or any outdoor sport. Going out to play with your pets or taking them for a walk is also good exercise.
6 - Practise a Good Sleep Schedule
Sleeping well can be a real challenge during menopause. Lack of sleep or difficulty in sleeping (insomnia) can cause memory and cognitive issues over time. Women undergoing menopause often feel disoriented and forgetful, as a majority of them suffer from insomnia. To overcome this problem, try to set a routine to manage and monitor your sleeping patterns. Fix a time to go to bed. Avoid eating and consuming alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime. Make your room comfortable by drawing your curtains to block out the light or any noise. Listening to soothing music also helps in sleeping well.
7 - Menopausal insomnia
Yes, it can. However, you need proper treatment for the symptoms to go. Insomnia is one of the symptoms of menopause. Untreated menopausal insomnia may last for weeks or even months, leading to more physical and psychological issues. Consult a health expert if you're experiencing insomnia for timely treatment.
8 - Monitor Your Stress Levels
One of the significant reasons for worsening menopause symptoms is stress. During menopause, many changes occur within the body. Difficult life situations can cause women to become increasingly worried and stressed. High stress levels often cause a chain reaction in menopausal women where one condition leads to another health problem. Looking after the family, workload, and household duties can contribute to increased stress levels, affecting cognitive ability and memory issues.
One of the most common and effective ways to deal with stress includes
- Meditation, such as yoga.
- Adopting a hobby like gardening, balancing rocks, or painting.
- Socialising with friends and family members.
- Adopting a pet.
- Playing an outdoor sport.
Counselling is an excellent option for women who feel overwhelmed during menopause. A professional mental health expert will help you to sort out your thoughts and feelings and plan accordingly. An organised written draft or a journal can be beneficial for keeping track of your progress and routine plans.