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Menopause and Memory

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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.

Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch received her bachelor’s of science degree in neuroscience from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in May 2009. Her thesis research was in learning, memory and attention in female college-age sexual assault survivors with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Add a Comment5 Comments

I'm not sure if this is the research Anon was referring to, but it sounds like it. I can't find the original research but this page refers to it:


as does this one:


Both pages have to do with exercises that you can do to increase your brain function, not the original study, but the first page does refer to the official study by name. I also am interested in Premarin because my mother has taken it for decades after having a hysterectomy in the '70s. She is experiencing some memory loss, and I have wondered about any possible connection.

June 15, 2009 - 9:02am

I hadn't heard about that study. Do you have a link to it?

June 13, 2009 - 7:21pm
EmpowHER Guest

This is fascinating to me. Are you familiar with the recent study saying longterm use of Premarin is connected to memory loss in menopausal women who had hysterectomies?

June 13, 2009 - 5:47pm

Sorry about that. The link is to a previous article I wrote on EmpowHer: https://www.empowher.com/news/herarticle/2009/05/27/having-trouble-your-memory

June 11, 2009 - 10:13am

Please elaborate on "storage techniques" When I clicked the link I found that it wasn't a good link.

Very interesting information. I have read that the brain is also re-wiring during menopausal years.

June 11, 2009 - 9:28am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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