Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Memory Changes During Menopause

I am pleased to share wth you today a guest post by Dr. Gary Aaron, the founder of the Australian Menopause Centre. His article will resonate with many of you who are experiencing menopause and memory loss and who are interested in taking preventative measures to handle the symptoms. 

Memory Changes During Menopause

Are you losing your train of thought mid-sentence? Can’t find your keys? Don’t recall simple words you used to use constantly? You might be suffering from memory loss as a result of menopause.
Loss of short-term memory is not uncommon during this stage of life. Known as memory lapses or brain fogs, they can be frustrating and a major nuisance in every woman’s life. Keep reading to know more about what causes it, and what can you do to improve your situation.
How do fluctuating hormones affect the brain?

The fluctuation of hormones which occurs during menopause affects the brain, just like they do every other part of the body. The brain is not immune from changing hormone levels. There are a variety of receptors for the ovarian hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone in the brain, and as such, hormones can bind to these receptors and influence mood and behaviour. While neuroscience researchers are working hard to find out more about this phenomenon, it’s clear that women experience a range of symptoms related to fluctuation in hormone levels, thanks to menopause.
Typical symptoms include foggy thoughts, reduction in memory and difficulty focusing. Needless to say, experiencing these symptoms can be frustrating. However, there are a variety of factors which may influence the severity of these symptoms, including general level of health, exercise routine, amount of sleep, social relationships, and other lifestyle choices.

The amount of mental stress suffered varies from woman to woman, and can be affected by other symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, sleep disturbance and sweats. These can all have a role in affecting the brain.

Other causes

Even though hormonal changes are the main cause of short-term memory loss during menopause, sometimes other menopausal symptoms can aggravate the condition too.


Fatigue occurs when you’re physically and mentally tired and can happen as a result of hormonal changes. Fatigue lowers energy and concentration levels, which can result in problems when processing new information, making it difficult to remember it later.

Hormonal changes can also trigger depression, which subsequently can cause distraction and a lack of interest and concentration. This is turn can also affect memory.


Stress is quite common during menopause, and is a great aggravator of memory loss. When the brain needs to be alert it produces high levels of cortisol, which increases awareness. However, when the crisis is ongoing, the brain fills with chemicals that can obstruct thought patterns, potentially leading to short-term memory problems.

Thyroid Disorder

Hypothyroidism is a common side effect of menopausal hormonal changes and it occurs when the body is unable to regulate its metabolism properly and cognitive abilities, including memory.

Preventive lifestyle measures

Watch what you eat
Eating properly and maintaining a balanced diet is crucial in order to have a healthy brain. Make sure you’re having plenty of vitamins, minerals, vegetables and protein. Specifically, make sure you’re consuming fish, legumes, soy products, berries, spinach, sunflower seeds and omega 3 acids. Also, try to avoid alcohol and caffeine, as it impairs memory.

Exercise your brain

Get creative and don’t let your brain fall out of shape. Puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, memory tests and learning a new language are some of the things you can do to make sure you keep a young and flexible mind!

Exercise your body

The mind and the body are interconnected, so be sure to sweat it out. Get plenty of exercise, and meditate if possible. It’ll give you time to relax, and will improve your flexibility and strength.

Activities such as yoga, tai chi and aerobic exercises can also help you manage and keep stress at bay, which will help you fight against memory loss.

Sleep patterns

Resting properly is essential; insomnia is a common symptom of menopause, and can directly affect your memory. Resting as much as you can will keep your energy levels high, and will enable you to think more clearly and retain information more easily.

Professional Life
Try to keep your professional life manageable by taking regular breaks and going out in the fresh air when possible. Go for walks, have lunch outside, or hold a meeting while walking around the block instead of locking yourself in a meeting room.
Also, keep a diary and make notes with the most important things you have to do throughout your day; it’ll make it easier to keep it fresh in your memory.

Talk to your doctor
There are numerous actions you can take to relieve the mental symptoms of menopause. Talk to your doctor to address your concerns.

As an example, pregnenolone and oestrogen supplementation can help maintain memory in menopausal women. This could be one avenue that may be worth discussing with your medical practitioner, as well as identifying other courses of treatment specific to your needs.



  1. I always knew that as you got older you start to lose some of your memory, I didn't know however that menopause had something to do with it.

  2. Hah! So Menopause is more than just maniacal mood swings, fiercely fluctuating body temperatures and walrus-sized weight gain? Oh what a walk in the park this has turned out to be . . . Sigh.

  3. Thanks for this informative post, and for reminding me to be grateful my wife and I have passed over this hurdle.



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