Perimenopause and Memory Impairment

At work and at home, poor memory, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating can cause problems. Sixty percent of women experiencing menopause or perimenopause report experiencing “brain fog”. Memory and attention problems are prevalent throughout the early and middle phases of menopause. This memory and focus loss during menopause can be disconcerting.

A decline in the body’s hormone levels is a significant change that may contribute to natural forgetfulness during menopause. During perimenopause, oestrogen levels fluctuate significantly. This is the time when many women begin to suffer menopause-related symptoms.1 Estrogen is a significant hormone that can have an effect on memory prior to or during menopause. Despite the fact that absolute hormone levels cannot be related to cognitive function, it is plausible that the fluctuations that occur during this time could have a part in the memory problems experienced by many perimenopausal and menopausal women.1

Memory loss in old age is commonly connected with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, although studies have shown that the majority of postmenopausal women have memory enhancement.

During Menopause, what causes memory loss?

Oestrogen and perimenopause

As you age, your ovaries lose some of their effectiveness. They produce fewer eggs over time and eventually stop altogether. Your body responds by producing less oestrogen because the hormone is no longer necessary for reproduction. This process does not occur instantly. During perimenopause, oestrogen levels fluctuate significantly. This is the time when many women begin to suffer menopause-related symptoms.1,2

For instance, hot flashes and night sweats occur when changing oestrogen levels trick the brain into believing that the body is overheating. Reduced levels of oestrogen and progesterone contribute to sleep problems. Additionally, ageing adds to insomnia. Night sweats can often make sleeping difficult. Mood swings and despair are also prevalent. A history of depression earlier in life raises the likelihood of depression in the years following the cessation of menstruation. Apparently, the hormonal shift can also induce transient memory problems.

What has the research on oestrogen and memory has to say about?

Mild memory loss can be difficult to quantify because research relies heavily on women’s views that they have experienced memory loss. In addition, memory weakens with age, making it difficult to establish if the symptoms are caused by menopause. Nevertheless, research on the influence of oestrogen on memory supports the notion that oestrogen depletion during perimenopause causes memory loss and that memory improves following menopause.2

For instance, a big 2004 study confirms that hormone fluctuations during perimenopause frequently result in a loss in verbal recall. It was discovered that these effects are distinct from the natural consequences of ageing. This work serves as the foundation for other ongoing projects. During the perimenopause, women were shown to be less able to learn. After menopause, women reverted to their pre-perimenopausal levels of intelligence.2,3

Menopausal Memory and Concentration Loss Treatments

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is often not indicated for the menopause-related memory loss. Nevertheless, women who have been taken HRT for other menopausal symptoms have reported memory improvements.2

If hormones are the likely cause of menopause brain fog, then hormone therapy would seem to be the solution. Once upon a time, it was believed that HRT might prevent mental impairment following menopause, but this notion is no longer widely held. Multiple studies have demonstrated that HRT offers minimal protection against cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Maintain your health.

Preventing Menopausal Memory Loss Without the Use of Medication

Exercise

Physical activity benefits the body and mind! Regular physical activity promotes the expansion and repair of brain cells and blood vessels. Avoid exercising too late in the day, as this can prevent you from falling asleep. Premenopausal and postmenopausal women are advised to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, five days per week. Aerobic exercise and weight training may also aid mental fitness.2,5

Get a good night’s rest.

Sleep deprivation can impair cognitive performance. Establish a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and rising at the same time every day. Try not to regulate your wakefulness by napping, caffeine, or alcohol. Maintain a cool, well-ventilated bedroom to prevent hot flashes and take steps to reduce other sleep problems.2

Eat well

It has been discovered that omega-3 fatty acid-rich diets increase memory and promote learning. Many varieties of fish, including salmon, fresh tuna, oysters, and sardines, are rich in omega-3s. This is good news for seafood enthusiasts. Eggs, milk, soy milk, yoghurt, oats, walnuts, and peanut butter are other foods. Numerous types of pasta and bread are omega-3 fortified. Also present in leafy greens such as Brussels sprouts, kale, and spinach.2,6

Play memory games

Mnemonics are techniques and devices that can be used to improve short-term memory. When you meet a new person, for instance, an excellent method to remember their name is to repeat it out loud and consider a characteristic that begins with the same letter as their name.2

Learn to de-stress

Stress triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Long-term, excessive cortisol production can impair memory and learning. In addition to work and family obligations, the stress of ageing can be overwhelming. Through conscious meditation and relaxation practices, one can learn to cope. Numerous ladies find yoga to be an excellent form of fitness and relaxation.2

Memory loss is widespread during the perimenopause and often recovers following menopause, according to researchers. Consult your physician to develop a plan to help you through perimenopause. Ask them if you have any queries (Soalan) or doubts about perimenopause. Keep track of your symptoms and discuss them with your doctor as perimenopause progresses. As the menopause approaches, you will ideally begin to feel better and your memory will begin to function more effectively. Know about your Hajj Vaccination Package.

References:

1. Hormones and Menopausal Status as Predictors of Depression in Women in Transition to Menopause, JAMA Network: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/481940 

2. Menopause and memory: Know the facts, Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-and-memory-know-the-facts-202111032630 

3. Menopause Effects on Verbal Memory: Findings From a Longitudinal Community Cohort, National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3763981/ 

4. Evidence for Cognitive Aging in Midlife Women: Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5207430/ 

5. Association of physical activity with reproductive hormones: the Penn Ovarian Aging Study, National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17905944/ 

6. Boost your memory by eating right, Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/boost-your-memory-by-eating-right 

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