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Changes in hormonal levels during the menopause, the ageing process and social factors at midlife can all impair memory and concentration.
And in fact it has come back a bit better but that’s mainly because I’ve been studying so I’ve been making myself remember stuff because I’ve been having to take three hour exams and things.
Forgetting words, appointments, keys, people’s names and birthdays, or doing ‘silly things’ like filling the bath up with cold water are frustrating.
Sally Hope is a GP in Woodstock, Oxfordshire and also does research on women's health in the Department of Primary Health Care, University of Oxford. Because I work in Oxfordshire, I have a group of very brilliant academic women as patients and they are much more worried about the mental side effects of the menopause. Yeah, I noticed it more, I call them my granny moments and I run upstairs and I call “Ah, you granny”. Poor memory, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating can cause problems at work and at home. Loss of memory and poor concentration can be annoying and sometimes funny, but women also found it frightening. I think I’m a reasonably intellectual person, I’m educated to degree level, I hold a responsible and a senior position whereby I need to deal with complexity, just about daily in my job, I need to be able to deal with ambiguity, and I need to read a lot, take in information and be able to store it and then use it. But the upshot of this difficulty in concentrating and being able to take information, and this loss of memory, I would describe as somebody’s taken the chip out of my brain.
Things I found really difficult were composing a letter, trying to write a letter to somebody and convey the sentiments and thoughts I found difficult and trying to verbally convey to people, say in a meeting or just on a one-to-one basis, how I was feeling about something I’d find really difficult because I wouldn’t be able to pull up the right words I wouldn’t be able to pull them out of the hat.
Women recommended some simple strategies which they’d found useful in improving their memory and concentration. Risks: Common allergy medicines have been found to cause memory and concentration problems in older people, researchers say. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Coping with symptoms alongside the stress of work and domestic responsibilities can be exhausting and confusing (see ‘Work’ and ‘Family, health and life events’).

Women felt disconnected and a ‘little bit out of town’ when they couldn’t remember even simple everyday things. I mean just this morning I picked up the credit card, thought I’d put it in the tea [room] and went to look for it, couldn’t find it and had to call one of the staff members to come and look.
Women had difficulty taking in and processing information, finding the right word, remembering details, spelling, answering emails, and organising tasks. When memory and organisational skills are affected by the menopause, working at a high or senior level can become almost impossible. And I actually began to question whether, I thought I actually had the early onset of Alzheimer’s. The information’s going in, either through my eyes because I’m hearing it, or whatever, but it’s going into this empty space, and it’s not slotting down into the bits of my brain where I should then be able to understand and comprehend it. These included writing everything down, making notes and ‘to do’ lists, keeping a diary, having a calendar in the kitchen with everyone’s birthday on it, and using spell check. And now I’m approaching 60 and it is better but I said to my husband the other day, “I’m really worried about the fact that I start a sentence and I can’t remember what I was going to say.” And that I find really quite worrying and whether that is a hormonal thing or whether that is a result of coming off the HRT I really don’t know or whether it’s the beginning of something to do with getting much older. They talked about their memory being ‘shot to pieces’, about their brain being ‘in a vacuum’, of having a ‘huge hangover’ and ‘cotton wool for a brain’. And we do know that there is some short term memory difficulties as you’re going through the menopause that appear to get better, hopefully, after the menopause.
They felt ‘bombarded’ when asked to take on too many tasks and embarrassed when they forgot what they were saying in the middle of a conversation or couldn’t recall what people had told them. Oh, I mean I know probably as you go on, as you get older your memory isn’t as good anyhow but oh, my memory is just shot to pieces. I mean I would know that he’d told me and I even make a mental effort now to try and remember it because I know he’ll go, “I told you that already”.
But in those 18 months that I’ve just described from being sort of 46 and a half, I’ve found that incredibly difficult, it got more and more difficult, and it really started to trouble me.
The lack of concentration, the appalling inability to remember people’s faces and names, forgetting appointments.

And it’s not clear, I mean there are some tests showing that oestrogen does actually help your mental function at this point.
I don’t remember, I mean at times I worry about will I be able to continue working because my memory’s so bad. And what would happen, for example, would be I would have lots of things to read, or I would be reading about something, an issue that was maybe new or unfamiliar to me. Also, because you’re having hot flushes at night, your sleep is disturbed and so when your sleep is disturbed you feel tired and dreadful and so you’re more stressed so you have more hot flushes and you go into this very negative cycle of thinking, “I really can’t stand this. I wouldn’t remember details, like I mean obviously I have a lot of keeping up to date with tax and things like that and I would read articles and it used to be I’d read them and they’d go in and I’d remember about them but now I sort of think, “ I think I read something somewhere about that.” Whereas before even if I didn’t remember the exact details, I would remember where I’d seen it and be able to lay my hands on it. One questioned whether her poor memory had to do with the menopause, getting older, or the ‘plaques in my brain starting to fur up’; another found her recent misspellings out of character and wondered if it was an ‘early sign of dementia’.
And I would be given a briefing paper or some information about it and I would be reading the words but they wouldn’t be computing in my brain. I also found that my memory both short term and long term was absolutely appalling on occasions. And this is where it got a bit scary, because sometimes I would have no problem with my memory whatsoever. And I notice sometimes when you’re talking you can’t remember what you were going to say next and you go “um, er, er, er, er” and then it comes back to you. So, an example of that was, I was in a meeting with my top team, my executive team one day, and I was asked for some details on a project that I’d been working on for about fourteen months, now I should have known these details back to front, inside out, I’d lived this project for such a long time. And I found it very difficult not to cry, and in fact I was saved by the bell literally, because my phone went at that point, and I was able to exit out of the room.

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