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30 Jan 2018 By AMC

Your Brain and Menopause

Forgetfulness, confusion, lack of focus and brain fog are all common experiences through menopause. Acknowledging that your brain is no longer keeping up with your demands, whether it be lifestyle, career or relationships, can be alarming and often frightening. Understanding the reason behind this change and recognising that it is often temporarily and reversible can often help you get through.


As you enter into peri-menopause your hormones become predictably unpredictable. This means that you may ovulate one month and then not again for another 3 months. This unpredictable pattern throws your hormonal balance out the window. Times like this can often mean cranky, irritable, PMS type symptoms that can leave you angry and peeved one minute, then teary and lonely the next. Fore warning your family and understanding that you are not in-fact going crazy, it’s just a transitional phase, can help you through this time.  Expect your emotions to run a little hot, expect them to settle.


Once your ovaries have finally retired (menopause), you can expect less of a rollercoaster ride, and more smooth sailing. When your ovaries shut down so does your production of oestrogen and progesterone. This can mean consistent symptoms and often easier hormone treatment control.  It is believed that women experience menopausal symptoms during this time as there is still plenty of hormone receptors throughout the body that are no longer being met with their hormone/messenger counterparts. Over time these receptors diminish and thus the extra demand for hormones or messages does to. When the demand for hormones equals the amount of hormones available, symptoms settle and external hormones would no longer be necessary to counter any negative symptoms.


There are two main theories for forgetfulness, confusion, lack of focus and brain fog during menopause. At the Australian Menopause Centre we believe that oestrogen is directly linked to verbal word fluency. So it’s no wonder when a woman’s oestrogen levels drop, her memory is affected. Oestrogen is believed to protect neurons from oxidative stress and ischemic injury whilst also protecting the myelin sheaths of nerve cells from degradation. This ensures that nerve impulses are not lost or interrupted. The second theory results from an indirect relationship driven from other symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings and poor sleep.


The fact that this is a transitional time, and not permanent is great, but it takes time and is often very inconvenient. If you are experiencing any forgetfulness, confusion, lack of focus and brain fog, be sure to mention it to us so that appropriate action can be taken to balance your hormones.


While our hormones play a key role in the function of our brains, we must not forget all other factors. Dietary choices, sleep patterns, stress responses other medical conditions must be considered and adjusted so that ideal brain health and function can be reached and maintained. Check out our 6 Ways to Keep a Sharp Mind to learn more.