I just read this article from the web site "Quality Health". I found it very interesting.
My kids think I am losing my mind because I forget things and sometimes I find it hard to focus. I am just glad to know I'm not the only 50 year old woman with these symptoms.
This is interesting. Read on.
Hot flashes and night sweats get all the attention when it comes to
menopausal symptoms, but for many women, it's the way perimenopause and
menopause affect their brain that's a bigger priority.
Mood swings, anxiety, depression, insomnia and "brain fog (a combination of
confusion, memory loss, and inability to focus)," are common complaints during
menopause. Women in their 40s and 50s who should be at the top of their game,
find themselves dropping the ball, making small errors and forgetting details
like never before.
What's causing them to lose their edge? It's the body's reaction to not
getting the supply of estrogen and progesterone it is used to. Women have
estrogen and progesterone receptors all over the body, not just in their
reproductive organs. When these receptors are no longer fueled with reproductive
hormones, they respond by altering the way neurons fire. Toss in fatigue from
too many sleepless nights, and it's no wonder some women experience brain
Desiree Bley MD, Portland OR OB-GYN says, "Three things happen during
perimenopause and menopause that cause women's brains to process information
1) "Women expand their focus in order to manage everything-children,
careers, families, and more. They aren't really losing brain function; they're
just at a point where there's too much on their plate and some things are
2) "Estrogen levels decline but our androgens (male hormones) stay the same.
Though we've always had these hormones, we're used to functioning with our
estrogen as dominant. We're not used to having our androgens run all our
machinery. Women come to me and say they're getting hairy, angry, and
forgetful. I tell them, 'Welcome to your male hormones.' This is the way men
operate all the time." (OF COURSE MEN HAD TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT)
3) "Chronic sleep deprivation-whether it's caused by hot flashes, kids waking
you up, or a spouse who snores, sleep deprivation accumulates. Our brains can
only take so much. The key is finding better sleep."
Researchers at UCLA studied more than two thousand women between ages 42 and
52 for four years (during pre-menopause, early perimenopause, late perimenopause
and after menopause). They tested their verbal memory, working memory and
processing speed and confirmed that during the five or six years leading up to
their last period, women do indeed, lose their intellectual edge.
The good news is once menopause is over, most women rebound and their
brainpower returns to normal. Researchers also found that women who began
hormone replacement therapy before having their last period experienced
cognitive improvement but those who began after their last period did
not. Dr. Bley agrees, "When women add a little estrogen back, they often say,
'I've got my brain back.'"