Memory Loss in Women: Is It Age or Menopause?
Decreasing levels of estrogen affect brain function
Memory difficulty is a typical symptom of menopause, but some might fear that it’s an early sign of Alzheimer’s. Many describe a sudden inability to recall simple facts as “brain fog.”
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. You’re not likely losing it or developing dementia. Dipping levels of estrogen — whether from menopause or having a baby — affect brain function.
Facts to ease your mind about memory ‘blips’
- People with Alzheimer’s aren’t aware enough of their condition to recognize it and tell their doctor.
- The first sign of Alzheimer’s often is forgetting how to perform activities, such as driving home from the store, and not fumbling for words.
- Generally, those with Alzheimer’s are much older than women experiencing menopause — usually in their 40s and 50s.
- Midlife “brain fog” is treatable! Hormone therapy has been shown to sharpen a menopausal mind and may help protect you from further memory loss.
Exercising your brain is another way to stay mentally fit. If your job is left-brained, relax by doing right-brained activities and vice versa. For example, if you work as an accountant, do something physically active or creative in your spare time.
A few brain-boosting ideas
- Do crossword puzzles
- Play games like chess or monopoly
- Go for a vigorous walk
- Read a novel
- Take up ballroom dancing
- Journal positive experiences
- Learn a foreign language
The important thing is to engage and challenge both sides of your brain. Midlife doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end. It can be the start of your best years yet.