Difficulty concentrating is one of the most common symptoms of menopause, affecting up to two-thirds of women. It can be frustrating since this symptom will often appear out of nowhere. Difficulty concentrating is often experienced as the inability to concentrate on both every day and complex tasks alike. Along with this, women may experience disorientation, general forgetfulness, and lost trains of thought. Needless to say, this can take a toll on daily life and be exacerbated by other menopause symptoms, such as sleep disorders and fatigue.
Fortunately, as difficulty concentrating is often the result of estrogen affecting neurotransmitter production in the body, it is possible to treat this imbalance. While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was once the commonly-prescribed treatment, the discovery of its potential dangerous side effects has prompted many medical professionals to rethink this extreme method and go towards less invasive treatments.
Three Approaches for Treating Difficulty Concentrating
Three approaches can be used to restore concentration. These are defined as: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications.Women are advised to start out with the least risky approach - lifestyle changes - before progressing to the next level. Medications should only be resorted to after other options have been exhausted.
1. Lifestyle Changes
The first tier of treatment for concentration problems poses the least amount of risk, but it demands the greatest self-discipline. For the majority of women, simple lifestyle adjustments can help improve concentration as well as overall health.
A healthy diet rich in brain-friendly nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and walnuts) can help. Cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar will also go a long way to decrease difficulty concentrating. Making sure to get a good night's rest helps a great deal as well. Stress-relieving techniques like meditation or yoga are also helpful in aiding a woman's ability to concentrate, and brain exercises such as crossword puzzles can improve overall focus. Mental exercise is extremely important in keeping the mind sharp.Also,intense aerobic exercise can increase the brain's concentration ability the same amount that pharmaceutical stimulants can.
While lifestyle and dietary changes can be a healthy way to manage difficulty concentrating, it can be hard to implement them into a daily routine. In addition, life adjustments do not address the root of the problem, which is hormonal imbalance. However, alternative medicines are a safe and effective method of balancing hormones and thereby relieving this symptom. Continue reading to learn more about natural treatments for difficulty concentrating.
2. Alternative Medicine
This approach includes a number of different methods. Herbal supplements are considered by many to be the best treatment because they relieve the symptom by treating the hormonal imbalance directly. When using supplementary herbs, there are two types that alter hormone levels:
These supplements (such as dong quai) contain phytoestrogens, or plant-based compounds that resemble estrogen. When taken, they can balance an estrogen deficiency, but as a result of introducing external hormones into the body, the hormonal glands may become less capable of producing hormones on their own. Therefore, the extended use of phytoestrogenic supplements is not recommended, since they can have a long-term negative effect on hormone levels, but they may be beneficial in the short term.
Other Concentration-Building Supplements
- Vitamin E
- Gingko biloba
- Huperzine A
These supplements (such as Macafem) do not contain any hormones, but rather, they nourish the hormonal glands, boosting their overall natural hormone production. This results in balanced levels of not only estrogen, but also progesterone, testosterone, and other important hormones. Because of the virtual lack of side effects, herbal supplements that support the endocrine system are considered the safest and most effective way to boost concentration.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production, by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link if you want to read and learn more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches - specifically lifestyle changes along with herbal supplements - is most often used to achieve the best results. While this method works for many women, some have such difficulty concentrating that their symptoms require medical treatment. Those experiencing severe concentration problems may wish to advance to the third approach, but they should first evaluate the risks related to such treatment.
This approach to treatment entails the highest risk in addition to the highest costs. In the U.S., the most common medication for addressing difficulty concentrating during menopause is hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. While this can be a swift way of relieving concentration difficulties, it can also increase the likelihood of certain cancers and other adverse side effects, as revealed in the study below.
The Women's Health Initiative (WHI) was set up by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to study the effects of synthetic hormones on the body. After 11 years of research, the WHI clinical trial was cut short when it was discovered that HRT raises the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, blood clots, and heart disease.
Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute remarks on the risks of HRT: "Before that study, doctors thought that HRT only increased the risk of less-serious cancers. The new findings lead to more of a consensus on the link between HRT and breast cancer, and suggest doctors should exercise even more caution when prescribing the treatment.
In very severe cases, psychostimulant medications like methylphenidate may be used to boost concentration and focus, but they are laden with adverse side effects. These side effects often resemble or worsen other symptoms of menopause.
It's important to remember that while these medications and others may be able to relieve difficulty concentrating, they all pose the risk of side effects, many of which offset the potential benefit. Therefore, if focus and concentration problems persist with intensity, it is recommended to speak with a healthcare practitioner for guidance.
These three treatment approaches - lifestyle changes, alternative medicine, and medications - can be used together or separately depending on the symptoms and the individual. An increasing number of women are discovering that difficulty concentrating is best ousted by combining lifestyle adjustments with alternative medicine.
A Safe Way for Treating Difficulty Concentrating
Hormone-regulating herbal supplements for difficulty concentrating, as detailed in the second approach, are considered to be the optimum treatment, since they are both effective and have very little side effects, if any.
One of the most widely-preferred herbal supplements is Macafem. This supplement does not contain any hormone-like compounds, but rather a combination of nutrients that allow it to stimulate the endocrine system from within, promoting the body's own hormonal balance. This way, concentration problems will be prevented, and hormone production will be stimulated in a natural and sustainable way. Click the following link to read and discover more about Macafem.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.