Brain Fog

Why is it so hard to concentrate?

Feeling like you are losing your memory at midlife can be very scary, especially if you think it’s a permanent situation. Many women secretly wonder if these ‘senior moments’ are the beginning of dementia and are truly frightened. If you forget what you were saying mid-sentence, what you went into a room for or where you put your car keys you are not alone.

It’s one of the most common symptoms of the menopause. And the reason? No one knows for sure, but it’s thought most memory problems at this time of life are due to poor concentration, lack of motivation, tiredness, anxiety or stress, rather than loss of brain cells. In addition, underlying all of that are low levels of essential nutrients and falling levels of hormones like oestrogen.

Feeling fuzzy-headed is also thought to be related to the hormonal ups and downs associated with menopause. Some parts of the brain particularly involved with verbal memory are rich in oestrogen receptors, so there could be a genuine physiological link between hormonal status and brain function. Indeed, the studies show that when we take naturally occurring oestrogen into our diet it can improve both long and short-term memory as well as cognitive function.

Another reason for brain fog is due to our circulation slowing down as we get older. Less oxygen reaches our brain cells, so it’s no surprise we aren’t as sharp. Many of us don’t stretch our brains as much as we could. Like muscles, our brain needs to be used to function at optimum levels. The good news is forgetfulness doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older. Following a nutrient dense and phytoestrogen rich diet, leading an active lifestyle and keeping your brain well exercised will help keep you sharp.

Jo's story

Jo is a professor who was starting a new job and struggling to function in the workplace because of her brain fog. She admitted feeling scared and worried that her symptoms would prevent her from being her usual creative self. She had developed a number of other symptoms, including acne and fatigue and I’m pleased to say we managed to get her back to feeling great again during my 6 week menopause course.

“I must have misplaced my iPad a million times! I couldn’t remember names which was a bit embarrassing in my new job. I met Maryon while talking to her about the paper I co-authored for the government on the cost of menopause in the workplace. I told her about my symptoms and she offered to help. I can’t believe the difference – I have renewed energy at work and look forward to working with others on projects! As a bonus my acne has gone too!” says Jo.

Tell me about your worst symptoms.