Do you sometimes forget where you put your phone, the date of an appointment or what your next door neighbour is called? These are all signs of memory lapses.
For many women going through menopause, memory lapses can be one of the most unsettling symptoms. It can be irritating, sometimes embarrassing and often worrying. Memory lapses, however, are typically due to hormone fluctuations that occur during menopause and shouldn't really be a cause for concern.
Here, we're going to look at what memory lapses are, what causes them, and the treatment options available.
What is a memory lapse?
Memory is defined as the mental capacity or faculty of retaining or recalling facts, events, impressions, or previous experiences. Memory lapses, then, are fleeting periods when a person loses the mental capacity or faculty of retaining or recalling information.
Women who suffer from memory lapses typically report that they have "brain fog" when trying to remember where they left their reading glasses, for example. It might start with forgetting where the keys have been left, leaving behind the shopping list, or struggling to recall names.
What causes memory loss during menopause?
Like many other menopausal symptoms, memory lapses are caused largely by hormonal imbalance.
Decreased memory, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and other signs of decreased neuro-cognitive function in menopause because of hormonal changes is most often due to low estrogen levels and a decreased function of estrogen. Memory problems specific to low estrogen include trouble remembering names or people, or names of objects. Another classic memory problem specific to low estrogen is trouble thinking of the right word when speaking or writing. Both of these memory functions (remembering names and remembering words) have to do with associative memory, such as associating a name or word with a person or thing.
Although decreases in hormones are the most common cause of memory lapses for women going through menopause, there are other risk factors that could have an effect on the likelihood of experiencing this frustrating symptom.
- Excessive amounts of alcohol
- Poor diet
- Lack of sleep
- Some medications
- Vitamin deficiencies
Symptoms of memory loss associated with menopause
• “Fuzzy” thinking
• Forgetting a recent event and remembering it later
• Difficulty concentrating
Lifestyle solutions to tackle menopause memory loss
Keep your brain active
Just like the rest of your body your brain needs to be exercised too. How? Crossword puzzles, brain teasers like Sudoku, learning a new language…
Menopause insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of menopause and is related to many other symptoms such as night sweats. Sleep will keep your energy levels up enabling you to think clearly and retain information.
Proper nutrition is one of the primary solutions to relief from all menopause symptoms. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and a balance of protein and carbohydrates.
Foods thought to help sharpen the mind include: fish, legumes, soy products, blueberries, spinach and sunflower seeds.
Sources: 34MenopauseSymptoms, Healthline, Menopause Centre, Menopause Health Matters