Difficulty Concentrating FAQs

By Menopause Now Editorial Team | Updated: Sep 02, 2019

Ladies

Among the myriad of menopause symptoms, those that influence the brain, such as difficulty concentrating, can be the most unsettling. It is important to realize that cognitive difficulties are completely normal. By better understanding difficulty concentrating in relation to menopause, women can take the first step towards restoring their concentration abilities.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about difficulty concentrating. Keep reading to gain a wider understanding of this menopause symptom.

Q: What Is Difficulty Concentrating?

A: Difficulty concentrating is defined as the inability to concentration on the task at hand, whether simple or complex. Alongside this, a woman may experience disorientation, general forgetfulness, and lost trains of thought.

This can be a cause for concern for many women who typically possess the ability to concentrate, and it may lead to problems in the workplace or in a woman's personal life. In addition, women may feel concerned that this is an early sign of more serious conditions. Read on to learn what is normal for menopausal women.

Q: Is Difficulty Concentrating Normal during Menopause?

A: Yes, difficulty concentrating is a normal occurrence for women of menopausal age. It is a direct result of fluctuating hormone levels and is widely experienced in varying degrees of severity. Studies have shown that up to two-thirds of women experience this symptom to some degree during menopause.

Q: What Are the Characteristics of Difficulty Concentrating?

  • Lost trains of thought
  • Disorientation
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate for long periods of time
  • Inability to focus on complex tasks

Due to its subtlety, difficulty concentrating can be a difficult menopause symptom to pin down. To the right is a list of some of the more commonly-experienced characteristics that a woman may encounter.

If experiencing one or more of these characteristics, a woman may be suffering from difficulty concentrating. Read on to learn why this happens so frequently during menopause.

Q: What Is the Cause of Difficulty Concentrating?

A: For women of menopausal age, the most likely cause of difficulty concentrating is a change in hormonal levels, particularly estrogen. Estrogen directly affects the production levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that control cognitive function, namely serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine.

When estrogen levels fluctuate, the production of these important neurotransmitters fluctuates as well. This leads to typical menopause symptoms, such as memory lapses or difficulty concentrating.

Q: What Can Be Done to Cope with Difficulty Concentrating?

A: Some easy lifestyle tips can help a woman to cope with difficulty concentrating. A healthy diet rich in brain-friendly nutrients such as omega-3 and omega-6 - found in cold-water fish and nuts - can help improve concentration.

Cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar intake also goes a long way toward improving concentration. Along with this, improving quality of sleep will significantly help.

Stress-relieving techniques such as meditation or yoga are also helpful in aiding a woman's ability to concentrate, and "brain exercises" like crossword puzzles can improve overall focus.

Q: Is Treatment Available for Difficulty Concentrating?

A: If coping methods and simple lifestyle changes are not working and a woman is still experiencing difficulty concentrating, there are further treatment options available. Alternative medicines that address the hormonal imbalance at the source are the most effective method of treatment, particularly in conjunction with lifestyle changes. For serious incidences of difficulty concentrating, prescription medications may help. However, it is important to consult a medical professional before beginning this type of treatment. 

Q: What Are the Best Ways to Cope with Difficulty Concentrating?

Three approaches can be considered for treating difficulty concentrating: (1) lifestyle changes, (2) alternative medicines, and (3) prescription medications. Most experts recommend that women begin with the least aggressive approach and move to the next level of treatment only if symptoms persist. Click on treatments for difficulty concentrating to discover the best route to relief.