C.W. Randolph, M.D. Medical Director of the Natural Hormone Institute
Dr. C.W. Randolph On New Study Confirming Menopause Causes Memory Lapses, Foggy Thinking-
Simple annoyances like misplacing the car keys. Embarassing lapses in memory at work. Trouble keeping the kids' schedules straight. For millions of women in their 40s and 50s, age-related hormone level decline that can start a decade or more before menopause means more than hot flashes, weight gain and vaginal dryness. It can also cause a disturbing "brain fog" that can lead to everything from embarrassment in social situations to negative consequences on the job.
New research published in the journal Neurology confirms that women do in fact start to lose mental sharpness during "peri-menopause" - the five-to-six year period leading up to a woman's last menstrual cycle. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers studied more than 2,000 women aged 42 to 52, testing them on cognitive skills such as verbal memory, working memory and processing speed. The results? Women who took hormones before the official onset of menopause improved cognitive performance, but after menopause, hormone replacement actually had a detrimental effect.
C.W. Randolph, Jr., M.D., board certified gynecologist and Medical Director of the Natural Hormone Institute, says the study results prove that both the type and the timing of hormone replacement is critical. "Women need to be aware that synthetic hormone replacement therapies, such as the popularly prescribed Premarin and Prempro, have been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. It is not surprising to me that women in this study who took synthetic hormones experienced a detrimental memory effect over time. In contrast, medically-proven safe and effective bioidentical hormones - those hormones that are exactly the same as the hormones produced by the ovary- have been shown to have promote mental acuity over the short and long term. In fact, recent clinical studies have shown that bioidentical progesterone helps repair the central nervous system (CNS)."
As for timing, "Hormone levels for women in their 40s are very different than women in their 50s," says Dr. Randolph. "For example, most women aged 40 to 50 are actually estrogen dominant and benefit greatly from taking bioidentical progesterone. After menopause begins, hormone levels shift again, and bioidentical estrogen replacement is also needed."
Randolph, co-author of the bestselling book From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well, says many women experiencing memory fog during these years are able to safely and effectively eliminate forgetfulness and mental confusion simply by using an over-the-counter progesterone cream. Even after the body's level of estrogen has dropped so that periods stop and estrogen replacement is also needed, no woman should ever take or use any form of estrogen -even bioidentical- without also using bioidentical progesterone. "Too much estrogen in the body causes cerebral edema (in essence water retention in the brain)," says Randolph. "Bioidentical progesterone counters this effect. In addition to 'finding your brain again', the added benefits are improved energy, increased libido, elimination of hot flashes and night sweats and an easier time losing those pounds stuck around the abdomen."