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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : Could there be a connection between my trouble concentrating lately and the fact that I'm in perimenopause?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Mary Pickett, M.D. is an Associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University where she is a primary care doctor for adults. She supervises and educates residents in the field of Internal Medicine, for outpatient and hospital care. She is a Lecturer for Harvard Medical School and a Senior Medical Editor for Harvard Health Publications.

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August 01, 2011
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A:

Yes. Many women have trouble concentrating when they are in the transition period to menopause.

This time is also called perimenopause. It's when hormonal and biological changes and physical symptoms begin to occur. It can last three to five years. A woman is said to be in menopause after she has gone one full year without periods.

It is not clear whether the difficulty concentrating is from the change in hormones or from lost sleep. Women transitioning to menopause may have poor sleep. Often, this is caused by hot flashes.

Hormonal therapy containing estrogen can be very effective at stopping hot flashes. If you have hot flashes that interrupt your sleep, low dose estrogen might help your energy and attention level.

However, if you do not have hot flashes, I would not recommend estrogen. There is no good evidence that estrogen itself can help with irritability, poor memory, depression or difficulty concentrating.

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