Disorientation, lost trains of thoughts, memory loss and the inability to concentrate are some of the characteristics one suffering from difficulty concentration may experience. Difficulty concentrating is the inability to concentrate on every day, as well as complex tasks. These disturbances can be so invasive to our everyday lives, especially when reaching menopause. At the beginning stages, many women encounter difficulties with a lack of focus and periods of blankness and forgetfulness. What may seem like forgetfulness is a normal symptom of menopause and is caused by low levels of estrogen and high stress levels.
What is Difficulty Concentrating?
Since this symptom can be minor when detected, it can help to clarify what is considered difficulty concentrating. Difficulty concentrating can be felt as the loss of ability to pay attention during everyday and more tedious activities. Along with this symptom, women can feel disoriented, forget detail, and lose their train of thought.
Symptoms of Difficulty Concentrating
- Loss of train of thought
- Disoriented behavior
- Hazy memory
- Memory loss
- Loss of the ability to keep attention for extended lengths of time
- No focus during tedious work or tasks
Women who are used to having the ability to concentrate may feel concerned because this may lead to issues at the workplace or in their personal life. In addition, some women may be concerned that this is the first stage of a much more serious medical condition, like Alzheimer’s.
Causes of Difficulty Concentrating
While there can be various reasons for difficulty concentrating, the most common for women going through menopause for women is hormonal instability.
The brain has a vast amount of neurotransmitters that regulate cognitive activity, some of which are responsible for memory capacity and concentration. If the brain is lacking the correct amount of neurotransmitters, there can be a drop in cognitive activity, which causes difficulty concentrating. Estrogen has a major roll in the making of all these types of neurotransmitters. When estrogen levels increase, so does productivity. In addition to the roll of hormonal changes in difficulty concentrating, lots of women may just be suffering due to other menopausal issues. Problems sleeping and debility can make a woman feel too worn out to be able to give proper focus to a particular task. Depression, anxiety, or even panic disorders can be some of the psychological symptoms that can cause difficulty concentrating. When stress is a factor a woman may not be able to devote the appropriate amount of mental energy.
Although the main reasons for difficulty concentrating is due to instability of estrogen levels, there are lots of other reasons why a woman’s level of concentration may become skewed. Certain medical conditions, diseases and medications can cause difficulty concentrating, such as aging due to natural circumstances, hyperactivity disorders, drug abuse, If you happen to be experiencing difficulty concentrating for one of the reasons mentioned above, you can rest assured that there are many forms of treatment made available to you.
Related Menopausal Symptoms
- Sleep Problems
- Weakness due to loss of sleep
- Pain Disorders
- Hot Flashes
When to Seek Professional Advice for Difficulty Concentrating
Most of the time, it is perfectly normal to experience difficulty concentrating during menopause and there is little need for concern. But, since Alzheimer’s can be a problem for aging women, the signs should not be ignored. There is a huge difference in Alzheimer’s disease onset and difficulty concentrating due to the menopausal process. It may also be in your best interest to seek the advice of a doctor just to be safe. This would rule out the possibility of some other neurological disorder as well. This particular symptom of menopause is still a mystery and is still being studied in depth.
Managing Your Difficulty Concentrating
In order to treat this dreadful symptom, a three part plan is usually implemented. Some simple reprogramming steps can do numbers for helping with difficulty concentrating. It is advised that you start with the least difficult option first, then move on to more invasive tactics if needed to correct the problem.
- Your diet can play a huge role in your mental health as well as your physical. For this reason nutrients like Omega-3 and Omega-6 can help tremendously. They can be found in everyday foods like fish, nuts, and other proteins.
- Eat more calcium-rich foods, such as salmon, tofu, broccoli, white beams, sesame seeds, almonds, yogurt, orange juice and cereals.
- Reducing your coffee intake, alcohol, and even sugar can make increased headway against difficulty concentrating.
Daily Lifestyle Changes
- Stress Reduction and Relaxation – Relaxation exercises, meditation, breathing exercises, massage, hypnosis, yoga and visualization techniques are all wonderful ways to help focus one’s concentration and exercise one’s brain.
- Exercise – Any activity that will increase your physical exertion can improve your difficulty in concentrating by improving your focus. Adopting an exercise regime doesn’t have to be difficult, nor boring. Some ideas: Opting for the stairs at work, walking to the local grocery store, and taking a yoga or dance class with friends or chair workouts in your own home. Exercise increases endorphin levels, which increases your threshold for pain.
- Stay connected with your family and community.
- Alternative Medicine – Chinese medicine (acupuncture and herbology) has been a long standing treatment for concentration difficulties around the world. Acupuncture is known to be an effective tool in addressing problems with concentrating because it works with the energy force in the body and regulates the flow of the energy. It is a wonderful alternative to the side effects of many different drugs commonly used to treat this symptom, such as Ridalin, that causes sleeplessness, dizziness, and changes in appetite and stomach pain.
- Black Cohosh One of the most commonly used herbal remedies is Black Cohosh, a perennial plant that is a member of the buttercup family. It provides powerful phytoestrogens that mimic the hormone’s effects and bind to hormone receptors in the uterus and other parts of the body, alleviating hot flashes. Black Cohosh is also known to relieve hot flashes efficiently and is a good alternative to HRT. It is also used effectively for treating PMS, arthritis and lowering blood pressure. Red Clover, Dong Quai, Ginseng, Kava and evening primrose oil can be used as natural therapies, although there are some risks involved. Herbal supplements are not as closely regulated as prescription drugs and the amount of the herbal product, quality and safety may vary between brands.
- Herbal Remedies – Herbal remedies can be the most effective treatment, especially when alongside lifestyle changes. There are two known types of herbs that affect hormone instability, the phytoestrogenic and non-estrogenic herbs. Phytoestrogenic herbs, such as Black Cohosh, have estrogenic plant content contained in them. At first, these herbs can be beneficial to your symptoms, but can lower your body’s ability to produce estrogen on it’s own over time. Non-estrogenic herbs don’t contain estrogen. They work by stimulating your brain’s production process in order to make the hormones itself. Herbs, like Macafem, can be the safest way to treat difficulty concentrating as the body makes what is needed to correct this problem on its very own.
- Pharmaceutical Options – Prescription sleeping pills, such as Ambien, diphenhydramine (Sominex), doxylamine (Unisom) and many others are useful to treat sleep disorders, but they can become habit forming. Also, these chemical aids to sleeping don’t offer the REM sleep required in maintaining a healthy, psychologically unimpaired mind. The menopausal woman should discuss her options with her healthcare provider.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy – For more severe cases of menopause, women may seek surgical or pharmaceutical treatments, although it is important to keep in mind that there are many studies showing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases a woman’s risk of elevated blood pressure, endometrial and breast cancers, strokes, blood clots and gallbladder disease. It is advised to speak with your doctor or healthcare professional regarding the negative side effects before you begin treatment.