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Women: Midlife Brain Fog is Real

Sunday, May 28th 2023 10:00am 3 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Experiencing difficulty recalling someone’s name, forgetting the reason for entering a room, or struggling to concentrate on a task are common symptoms referred to as “brain fog” that women in their 40s and early 50s may notice.

The good news, according to doctors, is that these problems are likely a result of normal midlife hormonal changes during perimenopause and often improve after menopause. Medications, exercise, and a healthy diet can also be beneficial. However, the bad news is that some women may continue to experience these issues.

Perimenopause usually occurs when a woman is in her 40s or early 50s and is marked by irregular menstrual cycles that can last from three to over ten years. Hormonal fluctuations during this time can cause a range of symptoms, including mood changes, night sweats, and hot flashes. Studies indicate that roughly 60% of women experience a decrease in memory function during perimenopause. However, most women still perform within the normal cognitive range despite these changes.

The International Menopause Society, a group of physicians and researchers who offer advice on menopause treatment, has released new guidelines instructing healthcare practitioners to reassure women that their memory difficulties are not symptoms of dementia. The guidelines suggest that memory problems frequently resolve once a woman reaches menopause, which occurs after not having had a menstrual cycle for one year.

Professor Pauline Maki, the first author of the guidelines published in the Climacteric journal, emphasizes the importance of letting women know that their experiences are normal and that they should not be alarmed.

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