Menopause causes many changes in a woman’s body, with symptoms such as irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes and night sweats. However, some women have also reported problems with memory loss, anxiety and depression.
The reasoning behind this isn’t so clear: originally, it was believed that the dwindling levels of estrogen during menopause were the cause of short-term memory loss. Estrogen is an essential hormone; it is involved in increasing the levels of acetylcholine (memory), serotonin (mood), noradrenaline (mood and autonomic functions) and dopamine (motor coordination).
However, in a memory study done by Meyer et al. , there was no decrease in memory among postmenopausal women; instead, there was actually a slight increase. The statistical research didn’t agree with the reported data from the women…so what could it be? In another memory study , the results also showed no difference in memory; but when women had signs of depression and anxiety, they scored lower on the mental skills tests. Anxiety and depression could cause interference in learning and memory—in studies focusing on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), patients with PTSD have shown significant deficits in memory.
So what does this mean for menopausal women complaining of memory loss? It is possible that the specific type of memory affected wasn’t being tested for. It also could be the natural memory loss due to aging. However, women can always improve their memory with storage techniques . Doctors also recommend a diet of calcium-rich food, soybean products and whole grains to help with menopause symptoms. Keeping your brain healthy with daily mental activity is key to staying sharp, and can also greatly help with memory.
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