Menopause and inability to perform tasks
You may find menopause causes you to struggle to complete your day-to-day tasks and leave you reeling from mental fuzziness. An inability to perform tasks during menopause is a common symptom – it feels like that sharp focus you once relied on is slipping through your fingers. Read on to find out more about the hormone changes that cause this bothersome symptom, as well as tips on how best to manage it.
INABILITY TO PERFORM TASKS DEFINITION
It can appear as a lack of motivation, persistent fatigue, or mental fuzziness. You might also be struggling with a lack of sleep, low mood or even depression, all of which can make it more difficult to get through your to-do list.
You may also find that you are physically less able to complete tasks that would previously have been a breeze. Aches and pains become more common at menopause, as do arthritis, loss of muscle mass and weight gain.
This can also make activities like exercising harder, leading to weight gain and low mood. It can affect your work life, home life and even your relationships, meaning that Iit really can have a huge impact on your life.
This inability to get stuff done like you used to is triggered by the change in hormones that occurs during menopause, specifically changes in your oestrogen and sex hormone levels. Read more about menopause and fatigue here.
The negative effects of these hormonal changes can also be compounded by other menopause symptoms, including hot flushes, night sweats and poor sleep.
Start your free online menopause assessment to see if HRT is right for you
HOW LIKELY IS INABILITY TO PERFORM TASKS DURING MENOPAUSE?
- It is hard to point to a reliable statistic on how many experience an inability to perform tasks as a direct result of menopause. But a study by the British Menopause Society helps us understand the impact – a significant proportion of those surveyed reported that their menopause symptoms had a negative effect on their work and relationships
- Studies reveal that an inability to perform tasks occurs as a result of changes in multiple hormone levels and can occur at any stage of menopause
- How much sleep you get and the quality of your sleep can affect your likelihood of experiencing an inability to perform tasks. For example, a prolonged period of disturbed or restless sleep can result in low mood, poor thinking and a lack of motivation
- Stress, such as pressure at work or home, can also impact your ability to perform tasks. Read more about menopause and stress here
Read more about the stages of menopause.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF INABILITY TO PERFORM TASKS?
Difficulty focusing and brain fog
Struggling to keep up at home or at work
A persistent feeling of anxiety
HOW TO HELP INABILITY TO PERFORM TASKS
Don’t pretend to be okay when you’re not
Struggling to perform day-to-day tasks is difficult enough without using up energy pretending everything is fine. Open and honest communication can work wonders for alleviating stress during menopause. Try speaking to friends, family and colleagues about how you’re feeling or, if you prefer, seek advice from a therapist or other medical professional.
The NHS recommends drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day. This might be too much for you, making you need the loo too often – try it out and see if your energy levels rise!
Limit your caffeine intake
You may love coffee but increased caffeine levels can play havoc with your nervous system, leading to more stress and a lack of quality sleep. Studies have shown that caffeine increases the circulation of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline in the body. Try cutting down or swapping to decaffeinated drinks.
Make time for yourself to relax
Getting into the habit of making time for yourself each day can make a big difference to your overall mood and energy levels. Just as your body is changing through menopause, so may the amount of rest you need. Try taking small breaks from work and focus on doing what you enjoy. This can be as simple as stepping outside for some fresh air or even taking up a new hobby – profanity embroidery, anyone?
Boost your diet
Making sure that your diet is balanced and rich in nutrients is always a good idea for managing bothersome menopause symptoms as well as your general health. Studies on the effectiveness of taking Vitamin B and magnesium to alleviate your symptoms, including an inability to perform tasks, are mixed.
Learn new techniques
Talking therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and improving your activity levels and sleep can also help.
Would hormone replacement therapy (HRT) help?
HRT is not currently recommended for brain fog alone, although it can help with some of the other symptoms of menopause which interfere with your productivity and contribute to brain fog.
Research on the risks and benefits of HRT for people with dry mouth during menopause is currently unclear. HRT is proven to help with hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes, sleep, among others.
However, it is not suitable for everyone. Speak to your doctor if you would like to find out more about the best treatment for you.
MENOPAUSE AND INABILITY TO PERFORM TASKS FAQs
This usually happens for a combination of reasons, all of which are caused by changes in your oestrogen and sex hormone levels during menopause. Common menopause symptoms including brain fog, low mood, fatigue and poor sleep can all combine to make it difficult to perform your usual tasks.
An inability to perform tasks can have an immediate effect on your mental health. For example, if you’re demotivated you may find it hard to take part in activities that once made you happy, like social gatherings, exercise and personal hobbies. Equally, you could feel overwhelmed at work and struggle to keep up with mounting deadlines. These effects are often cumulative and can become issues in the long-term if left unchecked.
Experiencing an inability to perform tasks can increase your risk of:
- Brain fog
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor sleep
It is important to talk to your doctor if an inability to perform tasks starts to negatively affect your day-to-day life or if you are worried about your symptoms.
Seek help urgently if you have:
- Any sudden onset of symptoms
- New or sudden memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Weakness, numbness or altered sensation in your arms or legs
- Associated headache
- Any changes to your eyesight (including double vision, blurring or blind spots)
- Any worrying symptoms of depression, including thoughts about harming yourself or others
- Any other new or worrying symptoms
- British Menopause Society: Are women suffering in silence? New BMS survey puts spotlight on significant impact of menopause
- Currie H, Moger SJ. Menopause – Understanding the impact on women and their partners. Post Reproductive Health. 2019;25(4):183-190
- Healthline: What You Should Know About Menopause and Mood Swings
- Gen M: Lack of motivation
- Honour JW. Biochemistry of the menopause. Annals of Clinical Biochemistry. 2018;55(1):18-33. doi:10.1177/0004563217739930
- Medical News Today: Mood swings during menopause
- NICE: Quality statement 4: Reviewing treatments for menopausal symptoms
- NHS: Low mood, sadness and depression
- The North American Menopause Society: Depression and menopause