The Mid-Life Brain Fog of Menopause Confirmed

The Mid-Life Brain Fog of Menopause Confirmed

The brain fog that many women have when menopause approaches is very real, according to a study published today in the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.

The findings by scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago were conclusive, and confirmed the changes that are happening in the brain as women hit menopause.

“The most important thing to realize is that there really are some cognitive changes that occur during this phase in a woman’s life,” said Miriam Weber, Ph.D., the neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“If a woman approaching menopause feels she is having memory problems, no one should brush it off or attribute it to a jam-packed schedule. She can find comfort in knowing that there are new research findings that support her experience. She can view her experience as normal.”

Generally anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of women during this stage of life report forgetfulness and other difficulties that they view as related to poor memory. Women who reported memory difficulties were also more likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. The team did not find any link between memory problems and hormone levels. Sometimes a woman’s symptoms are so bad that it causes disruption to their everyday lifestyle. When this happens then it is important that they go somewhere that like that can offer menopause management.

SignatureMD doctors understand that menopause isn’t a sudden event, but a complicated transition that takes years and begins as young as 35 in some people. There is a whole body approach to managing the symptoms so you can pass through this hormonal change as comfortable as possible. A personalized game plan after a thorough physical exam and blood work will help your doctor map out a detailed plan of action to tackle the worst issues associated with menopause, including hot flashes, sleeplessness and low libido.

There are several ways to get through the tough years, including Hormone therapy (HT) – the only government-approved treatment in the United States and Canada for relief of menopausal symptoms. HT is also approved for the prevention of osteoporosis. Today, clinicians prescribe much lower doses for much shorter terms (3-5 years) than earlier.

SignatureMD concierge physicians counsel patients regarding the three benchmark stages of natural menopause:

Perimenopause: the span of time between the start of symptoms (such as erratic periods) and 1 year after the final menstrual period.

Menopause: confirmed 1 year (12 months) after the final menstrual period.

Postmenopause: all the years beyond menopause.

There are two basic types of HT:

For women with a uterus, progestogen must be prescribed along with estrogen to protect her against uterine cancer. ET – estrogen-only therapy. Estrogen is the hormone that provides the most menopausal symptom relief. ET is prescribed for women without a uterus due to a hysterectomy.

EPT – means combined estrogen plus progestogen therapy. Progestogen is added to ET to protect women with a uterus against uterine (endometrial) cancer from estrogen alone.

The delivery of HT products include systemic products circulate throughout the bloodstream and to all parts of the body: An oral tablet, patch, gel, emulsion, spray, or injection and can be used for hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal symptoms, and osteoporosis.

Local (nonsystemic) products affect only a specific or localized area of the body. They are available as a cream, ring, or tablet and can be used for vaginal symptoms.

The most conservative approach is to begin HT with the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time for each patient.

The benefit-risk ratio is favorable for women who initiate HT close to menopause (ages 50-59, typically) but becomes riskier with time since menopause and advancing age.

Benefits of systemic HT (estrogen with or without progestogen) shows that it effectively helps such conditions as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and bone loss. These benefits can lead to improved sleep, and sexual relations, and quality of life.

HT is recommended at the lowest effective dose for the shortest time period. The real concern about hormone safety is with long-term use of systemic ET or EPT.

As a result of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial in 2002, the US Food & Drug Administration and Health Canada require all estrogen-containing prescription therapies to carry a “black box” warning in their prescribing information about the adverse risks of HT. Although only two products were studied in the WHI, Premarin and Prempro, the risks of all HT products, including “natural” bioidentical and compounded hormones, should be assumed to be similar until evidence shows otherwise.

Most of the risk of breast cancer is associated with EPT. Both ET and EPT have been associated with stroke and an increase in blood clots in the veins. These risks are higher in women over age 60.

SignatureMD Mid-Life Menopause Game Plan


You must make physical activity a priority. Hike, walk, bike, gym, cardio, Yoga, Pilates and combines as many of these as you can fit around your schedule. Sneak physical activity into the day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away in parking lots, and walk in place while watching TV. It takes about 60 minutes of physical activity every day just to prevent weight gain, not to mention lose weight, so get up and get going. Women should be physically active for 30 minutes per day most days of the week.

Mental Motivation

Goal setting, organizing and journaling daily are tools to help you stay on track for exercise, chores, and all the things you need to keep track of. With the fog of menopause, this is a wonderful fail-safe to keep you on top of everything you have to do. It will give you peace of mind too.


This is the time in your life to jettison the bad stuff and eat vegan or vegetarian. You will be reborn when you eliminate as many animal products as you can from your diet – oils and fats too. Try juicing green vegetables with an apple, carrots, ginger and other veggies and fruits, be adventurous. Try to get sugars down to negligible amounts, and eschew coffee for teas in all varieties. You will be shocked at how good you feel, and you will shake your head when you see a twenty-something choking down a super-sized fast food meal.

Use it or Lose it

Sex, it’s important, the activity keeps your internal sexual organs in good stead. Experiment, explore what can help and make the intimate part of your life a top priority.


II. NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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