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What is Brain Fog & How to Alleviate it

Advice from the International Menopause Society (IMS)

The International Menopause Society has designated October 2022 as the month when we raise awareness of the menopause by sharing factual information that can benefit women and health professionals. And they have designated Tuesday October 18th as the peak awareness raising day worldwide.

The theme of the educational campaign this year is Cognition and Mood.

As a member of the British Menopause Society for health practitioners, I will be playing my part by sharing factual information about the affect on women's health and wellbeing caused by the hormonal changes in menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy. And as the founder of Menopause Yoga, I will be offering a holistic approach to the menopause that includes specialised yoga, meditation and breathwork techniques, alongside nutrition, herbal remedies and complimentary therapies. But we also need to take into consideration our emotional response to our menopause, which may be affected by the cultures and societies we live in. Our attitudes to menopause and women ageing in the UK may not be the same as attitudes in other countries. All of these factors can affect our psychological and emotional response to the menopause, and it affects how others treat us, including employers, doctors and life partners.

Below is a report from the International Menopause Society which you can read in full and download free from their website


What is Menopausal Brain Fog? Menopause brain fog is a group of symptoms that happens around the time of the menopause, including difficulty remembering words and numbers, disruptions in daily life (misplacing items like keys), trouble concentrating (absent mindedness, losing a train of thought, being more easily distracted), difficulty switching between tasks, forgetting the reason for doing something (why you came into a room), and forgetting appointments and events. Research studies find that women’s memory does in fact change at menopause, so these complaints are real – it's not in your imagination. Brain fog is normal and common at midlife.

These bothersome problems can affect your quality of life. However, they are usually quite mild and will improve post menopause.

Will brain fog and problems lead to dementia in later life? Women are often concerned that these memory issues are an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. However, these issues are very common in midlife women and typically improve with time. All women go through menopause, but most women will not develop dementia. Dementia at midlife is very rare. What role does menopausal hormone therapy play in my brain health? Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is the most effective way to treat menopausal

symptoms. Treating menopausal symptoms with MHT may improve your brain fog.

Discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare practitioner. Treatment with estrogen therapy is advised if you have had an early menopause. Here’s the good news. If you have brain fog at menopause and are concerned about getting late-life dementia, you can postpone or even prevent dementia by staying healthy. Can I prevent or postpone dementia? We can’t change some dementia risk factors - age, female gender and genetic history. On the next page you will find 12 ways to protect your

Twelve ways to protect your brain. A healthy heart goes hand in hand with a healthy brain. Get regular check-ups - obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are harmful for brain health.

Watch your weight with a healthy BMI 18-25 and set a goal to your lower blood pressure to 120 mm Hg18.

Cut down on starchy, fatty, sugary foods, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. A nutritious Mediterranean style diet is easy to follow. 13

Engage in regular physical activity - increased cardiovascular fitness decreases risk of dementia.

Break a sweat with a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity weekly.

A healthy life style includes getting enough sleep, and minimizing stress. Stop smoking and drink in moderation.

Protect your head from injury and try to avoid second-hand tobacco smoke and air pollution.

Challenge and exercise your brain by learning new skills, reading and volunteering.

Stay connected – social engagement can boost your brain health. Find ways to be part of your local community and share quality time with family and friends. “Dementia at midlife is very rare so women should be reassured that memory problems in perimenopause are very common and that they typically get better over time.”

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