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Difficulty concentrating

A menopause symptom that can creep in to a woman's day to day life

During menopause many women are concerned to find they have trouble remembering things, experience mental blocks or have difficulty concentrating.

Difficulty Concentrating

What are the signs of difficulty concentrating during menopause?

While the sign of difficulty concentrating is extremely common, it can also be subtle.

It is a menopause sign that can creep in to every aspect of a woman’s day to day life.

The signs to look for are lost train of thought, disorientation or feeling confused, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate for long periods of time, inability to focus on both complex and unusual as well as every day tasks.

These can be scary and have you worrying that you are going senile or developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, while it is an inevitable sign of aging, it is also a common sign of menopause.

What are the causes of difficulty concentrating?

During menopause fatigue and stress can be major contributors.

Fatigue, resulting from hormonal imbalance, night sweats, sleeplessness, anxiety and stress is a common sign of menopause. It makes it difficult to function both physically and mentally, thus impairing concentration.

Stress can result from hormonal shifts during menopause that lead to a decrease in neurotransmitters that inspire calm, such as endorphins, and an increase in hormones that deal with stress response, such as cortisol. The resulting increase in feelings of anxiety and worry can interfere with your ability to concentrate.

There are other causes, not necessarily related to menopause, to look out for.

Distractions provided by this fast paced world, such as social media, mean that many people are not in the moment. This will cause difficulty concentrating on mundane tasks, as well as impacting many other areas in our lives.

Boredom created by an extremely repetitive routine can cause “burnout”, of which difficulty concentrating is a classic sign.

Nutritional deficiencies, especially of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins which can provide mental clarity, can also play a part.

Although it can be frustrating, difficulty concentrating is common, and is likely to come to and end as your other menopause signs cease. Until it does, its important to be aware of the causes and find your own relaxation techniques or ways to change up your routine.

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This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.


Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.