It is not uncommon for perimenopause to provoke or exacerbate migraines in middle-aged women, with up to 45 percent experiencing worsened episodes.1 However, when these migraines are paired with memory lapses or loss, there is just cause for concern.
Continue reading to learn more about migraines and memory loss, including more about memory loss-causing migraines and effective ways to prevent and manage them.
About Migraines and Memory Loss
A specific type of migraine that may cause short-term memory loss is called hemiplegic migraine.
Hemiplegic migraines are quite rare and are characterized by motor weakness on one side of the body in addition to brain fog, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting for a few hours or days.
Although normally genetic, they can appear in those who have no apparent family link. They also have many triggers, such as certain foods or odors, sleep deprivation, physical exertion, bright light, a head injury, or stress.
In general, for perimenopausal women, migraines often worsen in the years leading up to the menopause date. This is attributed to hormonal triggers throughout these transformative years. Then, with postmenopause, women whose migraines had hormonal roots often find reprieve from them.
Prevention of Migraine Memory Loss
Preventing the occurrence of migraine memory loss often involves implementing efforts to avert the episodes, such as:
Keep a journal
Middle-aged women who suffer from memory-inhibiting migraines should work to identify triggers so that they can avoid them. The best way to do so is to keep a journal to make any links between hormonal patterns, menopause symptoms, and migraine occurrences.
Get regular exercise
Regular exercise reduces the intensity and frequency of migraines by releasing endorphins, “feel-good” hormones that act as natural painkillers.2 Aerobic exercise also increases the size of the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.3 Ease into a menopause exercise routine for optimal benefits.
Change eating habits
Skipping meals may trigger headaches and migraines because of low blood sugar levels. As such, it is best to consume small meals throughout the day. Striving for a macro- and micronutrient-rich menopause diet will also provide your brain with the proper nutrition for optimal cognitive functions.
Management of Migraine Memory Loss
There are further initiatives that can be put into place for optimal cognition during times of migraine brain fog. They include:
Partake in relaxation techniques
Some women find memory loss after a migraine more manageable by taking part in stress-relieving activities, like yoga, meditation, or Tai chi. Meditation - specifically - improves mental focus by permitting a better stress response as well as strengthening the brain's neural circuitry for focus.
Take it easy
Resting along with proper hydration can do wonders in helping the body recover from a migraine attack and subsequent difficulty concentrating. Also, in times of harrying situations, ask for help from family and friends for difficult tasks that seem too hard to handle at the moment.
Write down reminders
Migraine memory loss can make it difficult to keep up with a busy work, social, and family life. So, as you are waiting for your brain fog to clear up, don't be afraid to take note of your schedule so that you can keep on top of your day-to-day life in the meantime.
While temporary memory loss after a migraine can be startling and disrupting for many middle-aged women, the best thing they can do to prevent its reoccurrence is to partake in aforementioned lifestyle changes while balancing hormone levels with natural medicine. Memory lapse treatments focus on just this, optimizing endocrine health for overall health and wellness. Don't let menopause symptoms and migraines keep you down. Help is just a click away!
- American Migraine Foundation. (2016). Migraine and Diet | Hemiplegic Migraine | The Science of Migraine - How to Deal With Postdrome. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/migraine-and-diet/ | https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/hemiplegic-migraine/ | https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/understanding-migrainethe-science-of-migraine-how-to-deal-with-postdrome/
- Mindful. (2018). Three Ways Meditation Boosts Your Focus. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.mindful.org/three-ways-meditation-boosts-your-focus/
- National Organization for Rare Disorders. (2019). Hemiplegic Migraine. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/hemiplegic-migraine/
- The North American Menopause Society. (n.d.). My-Oh-Migraine: Hormonal Headaches & Menopause. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/women%27s-health-and-menopause/my-oh-migraine-hormonal-headaches-menopause
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Sporadic hemiplegic migraine. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/sporadic-hemiplegic-migraine
- Women's Health Concern. (2017). Migraine and HRT. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.womens-health-concern.org/help-and-advice/factsheets/migraine-and-hrt/
- The Migraine Trust. (n.d.). Menopause and midlife. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/trigger-factors/menopause-and-midlife/
- American Migraine Foundation. (2015). Effects of Exercise on Headaches and Migraines. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/effects-of-exercise-on-headaches-and-migraines/
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2014). Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. Retrieved December 10, 2019, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110