Can’t remember where you put your keys or what you were about to say? Ever walk into a room and wonder why you’re there? Chances are it’s not the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but the fuzzy thinking and confusion that comes with midlife hormone imbalance.
If you’ve experienced childbirth, remember how jumbled your thoughts were the first few weeks after having your baby? Your body was going through a hormonal transition that affected your memory and left you feeling confused. Of course, lack of sleep didn’t help either.
Now that you’re going through menopause, your body is once again re-setting its balance. Sleep deprivation, stress and an unhealthy diet can also increase fuzzy thinking and short term memory loss. But not to worry, there are things you can do to clear your mind, and get yourself back on track.
Solutions: What you can do to ease your symptoms
There are many things you can do to feel better, reduce stress and sharpen your focus. Try some of the simple lifestyle changes today discuss the other options with your health care provider.
- Eat a healthier diet, free of processed foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the most nutritious foods are found. Check the labels and avoid foods that are loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), refined carbohydrates and sodium (salt). All can contribute to more imbalance symptoms.
- Practice portion control. Honor your cravings, but do so in moderation.
- Eat at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day. The more colorful ones are packed with valuable nutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collards have been shown to help in memory recall and other mental functions. Goodbye brain fog!
- Choose organic whenever possible to avoid preservatives, pesticides, hormones and other substances that disrupt hormone balance.
- Whole foods are healthiest, so pick the orange instead of the orange juice. You will get more hormone rebalancing nutrients and fiber to keep you healthy.
- Limit your caffeine intake; drink less coffee and soda.
- Drink more pure water and green tea.
- Load up on berries that packed with anti-oxidants blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and strawberries. Fresh or frozen, they reduce oxidative stress which assaults the cells of the body. So, “berry up” to reduce inflammation and improve your brain cell signaling.
- Avoid saturated and trans fats and choose olive oil and canola oil instead.
- Choose foods high in Vitamin C red peppers, oranges, pine nuts, roasted sunflower seeds. Great for skin protection, leading to fewer wrinkles and less skin dryness overall.
- Boost your omega-3s a beneficial fatty acid found in oily fishes, walnuts, canola and flaxseed oils.
- Spice up your diet with herbs that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties turmeric (also known as curcumin), garlic, rosemary, and cayenne.
- Go for a walk, take the stairs and park farther away. Exercise gets your endorphins moving and helps alleviate symptoms associated with menopause.
- If you’re a smoker, seek the support you need to quit. On average, women who smoke experience menopause symptoms two years earlier than non-smokers. And smokers’ symptoms are often stronger and more troublesome.
- Chemical disruptors can also throw off your balance, so avoid perfumes and go fragrance-free.
- Make time to do the things you love, whether it’s relaxing with a good book or pursuing a favorite hobby.
- Get your life in order; getting rid of clutter can reduce your overall stress and help you manage midlife challenges.
- Reduce your stress with massage therapy, join a yoga class or meditate.
- Get more rest and a better night’s sleep. For tips, see the Trouble Sleeping symptom page.
- Talk to a Chinese medical practitioner about herbal therapy.
- Ask about black cohosh, an herb that has helped some women with hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. To learn more, see the Vitamins, supplements and herbs page.
- See your health care provider for a comprehensive exam and full assessment of your overall physical, mental and emotional health.
- Also seek assessment of brain neurotransmitters, which are hormones in the nervous system (such as serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, GABA and dopamine) that regulate mood and sleep.
- If hormone therapy is recommended, consider bioidentical therapy which matches your body’s hormone structure.
- Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about adrenal support vitamins. Increasing your intake of B & C vitamins, particularly vitamins B5, B6 and B12 can be very helpful. Health food stores and compounding pharmacies are also good places to look for adrenal support vitamins specially formulated for your needs. Don’t be tempted to buy cheap products, invest in yourself.
- You are unique, so your provider should create an individualized plan for you detailing the type, timing and dosage of your therapy.