Carrying on from the post on low moods and January blues…Forgetfulness and memory loss - how frustrating are these very common symptoms of the menopause.
Such underrated symptoms and often dismissed as just part of getting older — they are sooooo annoying!
Add to that the pressures of everyday life and the amount of multi tasking we have to do, it’s then no wonder with the addition of the old fluctuating hormone problem why these two occur more often than we want them to!
Common terms bandied about when referring to these symptoms, (which can also refer to the low moods swings)… brain fog, red mist… life does generally sometimes just get a bit foggy and overwhelming doesn’t it.
I often used to think I should walk around with a notepad hung round neck — I would make lists but then forget where I put them, only to find them written on another pad 2 days later!
We are now sometimes referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’ — caught between those delightful, equally hormonal teenagers and even more forgetful parents — we become the ultimate PA to the whole family without even realising it — usually falling down only when it comes to looking after ourselves. Sound familiar?
These two ‘joyous’ symptoms of the menopause can often creep up on us starting in peri menopausal years. I’m sure not so long ago you prided yourselves on your slick organisational skills, sharp wit and recall — but now it’s a miracle if you remember to put mascara on as well as the rest of your makeup and I lost track of the amount of times I ended up in the supermarket with my slippers on! All very frustrating when coping with work and a busy family life ( especially when you catch said teenage children rolling their eyes or trying to catch you out — even though they seem to get away with lying in and missing tutorials, forgetting half of their rugby kit …). Add to that some of the other debilitating symptoms like fine motor skills being affected (ever found yourself becoming more clumsy or dropping things?) — which is why so many women either reduce their hours, take on a less pressurised role within the workplace or in the worse scenario take early retirement.
Please don’t put up with these symptoms there are things you can do to help yourself ... first and foremost take a moment and think about yourself for a change instead of the rest of the family.
Have a good look at your lifestyle — what you eat is so important. There is a brilliant article by the dietician and medical nutrition manager Imogen Watson in one of the recent Menopause Matters magazine — very good advice take a look
Do you incorporate enough exercise into your life — I know I bang on about exercise in most blog posts but it is so important and really does help! Exercise releases endorphins which then counteract the cortisol being released when you are stressed, anxious and frustrated, helps not only overall health and well being but really can help those joints. I don't know about you but if I'm off on a jog or going for a swim all of a sudden my brain has the space and time to think — only problem being as soon as I come back from exercising I have to rush to a notepad or computer and jot everything down or I would have forgotten it!
If your symptoms are severe and they are affecting your quality of life — get yourself to your GP / practice nurse to discuss options available.
One option, HRT doesn’t just help the physical symptoms it can really help the psychological ones as well — sometimes when you’ve sorted the draining physical ones out you have more energy to think clearly to tackle the ones you probably didn’t even realise you were suffering from.
Anti-depressants are not advised as the first line of treatment for these symptoms but they definitely have their place in the medical world and sometimes are an option for women who maybe can't or don't want to take HRT — NICE guidelines 2015
Relaxing — definitely helps — giving yourself and that foggy brain of yours some space and time whether through simply having time to read a book, plan to get a massage ( should be on the NHS!) attending a yoga or pilates class or one of the simplest ways... get your favourite bath oil, get the music on to drown out other family members and lock the door for half an hour ...ahh!
One good point to end on — for the majority of us these symptoms are only temporary, sometimes only returning when we're all octogenarians and for some not even then!
So it's up to you — unfortunately no-one is going to do this for you — start with the lifestyle choices first...small steps are sustainable...
If anyone is interested in organising an information workshop within the workplace or the community please get in touch — send us a message on the contact us page and we will get back in touch.
Menopause Matters article : https://menopausematters.co.uk/issue49/#p=24
Subscribe to Menopause Matters - highly recommend! https://menopausematters.co.uk/magazine/subscribe.php
Exercise so important have a look at previous post : https://www.letstalkmenopause.co.uk/exercise-fitness-fun-tips-help-get-inspired/
NICE guidelines 2015 : https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng23/ifp/chapter/managing-your-symptoms#low-mood
Any information is as accurate as possible at time of writing and is for information purposes only. The information and support that Let's Talk Menopause provides is for your own personal use. It is not intended to replace or substitute the judgement of any medical professional you may come in contact with. You should always seek advice from your healthcare professional regarding any medical condition.