All about each symptom of menopause
women going through menopause

Difficulty Concentrating FAQs

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.

How to Combat Difficulty Concentrating in Menopausal Women

Concentration is a vital function that's needed in many aspects of daily life, from the workplace to other activities, like driving or reading the newspaper. During menopause, hormonal imbalances affect the cognitive functions, which may result in difficulty concentrating. Keeping the brain stimulated, plus other simple lifestyle changes, could help combat concentration issues.

How to Recognize a Lack of Concentration Due to Menopause

It's happening more and more frequently. You're in the middle of a conversation, and suddenly, your train of thought is gone. Or maybe you just feel an inexplicable sensation of disorientation. If you're having difficulty concentrating, it may be more than just an inevitable sign of aging. Learn more here.

  • Agnew-Blais, J.C. et al. (2015). Folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 intake and mild cognitive impairment and probable dementia in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(2), 231-241. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.07.006
  • Greendale, G.A. , Derby, C.A. & Maki, P.M. (2012). Perimenopause and Cognition. Obstetrics and gynecology clinics of North America, 38(3), 519-535. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2011.05.007
  • Henderson, V.W. (2008). Cognitive Changes after Menopause: Influence of Estrogen. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 51(3), 614-626. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e318180ba10
  • Herbison, A.E. et al. (2000). Oestrogen modulation of noradrenaline neurotransmission. Novartis Foundation Symposium, 230, 74-85, 85-93. Retrieved from
  • Jacobs, E. & D'Esposito, M. (2011). Estrogen shapes dopamine-dependent cognitive processes: Implications for women's health. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(14), 5286-5293. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6394-10.2011
  • Janicki, S.C. & Schupf, N. (2011). Hormonal Influences on Cognition and Risk for Alzheimer Disease. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 10(5), 359-366. doi: 10.1007/s11910-010-0122-6
  • Kulzow, N. et al. (2016). Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 51(3), 713-725. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150886
  • Matsuda, Y. , Hirano, H. & Watanabe, Y. (2002). Effects of estrogen on acetylcholine release in frontal cortex of female rats: involvement of serotonergic neuronal systems. Brain Research, 937(1-2), 58-65. Retrieved from
  • Uchida, S. & Kawashima, R. (2008). Reading and solving mental arithmetic problems improves cognitive functions of normal aged people: a randomized controlled study. Age, 30(1), 21-29. doi: 10.1007/s11357-007-9044-x