We have all been there (no matter the age). We walk halfway to the kitchen, then suddenly lose track of our original purpose. We find ourselves standing in front of an open cupboard, drawing a blank. Even more frustratingly, we might interrupt someone mid-sentence because a sudden thought compels us to complete an unfinished task before it slips our minds again.
Sound familiar? Other typical signs of forgetfulness include getting lost mid-sentence and relying on sympathetic onlookers to help finish our thoughts. Many women in perimenopause experience these awkward moments daily. This article consolidates information explaining this phenomenon and delves into self-help resources.
Navigating Perimenopause's Impact on Memory
Time's passage inevitably results in chronological aging. Alongside this, women undergo reproductive aging, known as perimenopause, during midlife. In early midlife, some women experience changes in memory circuitry connections that coincide with reproductive aging. During this phase, levels of the ovarian hormone, specifically Estradiol, decrease. Estradiol, a primary form of estrogen, functions in the brain, influencing memory and behavior quality.
Moreover, women display a greater loss in hippocampal volume compared to men of a similar age. Research has shown reduced hippocampal volume in women transitioning from pre- to post-menopause. Women with underlying health conditions like diabetes or hypertension are at a higher risk of cognitive decline due to shared energy processes between the brain and body. Significant hormone fluctuations during this phase can lead to the reorganization of memory circuitry during menopause.
Understanding HRT and Forgetfulness
Brain fog and memory lapses can adversely impact not only women's lives but also their families and the broader society. Thus, preserving memory during midlife is crucial. Studies highlight the importance of timely hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) during perimenopause. Starting HRT earlier in the perimenopausal phase has shown positive effects on brain function and memory.
However, introducing replacement therapy later in menopause can correlate with conditions like Alzheimer's. These discoveries stress the potential benefits of hormonal therapy in guarding against cognitive decline as women enter midlife. Late-life initiation requires caution due to potential adverse effects on mental well-being.
Superfoods for Cognitive and Physical Well-being
To maintain peak physical and cognitive health, nutritionists advocate for certain superfoods that effectively counteract brain fog and associated problems. MCTs (Medium-chain triglycerides) present in unprocessed organic coconut oil and palm kernel oil offer cognitive benefits when consumed in moderation. MCTs are easily digested and absorbed, quickly turning into ketones, which act as an immediate energy source for the liver and brain.
Typically, the brain relies on glucose as its primary fuel, making these MCT-rich foods especially valuable. Diabetics, who might see a ketone buildup in their bloodstream, should limit sugar and carbohydrate consumption. They might also consider ketone drink supplements to reduce belly fat and balance hormones. MCT-rich foods and products, including dairy items, nuts, seeds, MCT oil, and powders, enhance brain performance and energy — highly beneficial for women in the perimenopausal phase.
Remedies to Train the Brain
A meta-analysis has delved into hormone levels and cognitive shifts during the menopausal transition. Brain fog often leads to a significant decline in verbal memory performance in women compared to men. Therefore, grasping how menopause affects the brain can aid in formulating strategies to fend off memory loss. Complex cognitive exercises provide tools for boosting memory recall. Activities like Sudoku, crossword puzzles, and vocabulary exercises effectively bolster verbal memory and learning.
The Wechsler Memory Scale, an intelligence evaluation tool, assesses immediate and delayed verbal memory recall. Games involving facial recognition, matching paired images, recalling oral narratives, family photos, visual reproduction, letter sequence recall, and spatial patterns all target verbal memory enhancement.
As discussed, women play a pivotal role in the global economy and overwhelmingly represent unpaid caregivers. Thus, it's vital to adopt preventive measures to improve public health and protect cognitive abilities from early-onset neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's.
Forgetfulness, often linked to hormonal fluctuations and daily stress during menopause, deserves attention. Women should proactively engage in games and puzzles to sharpen their minds, countering cognitive challenges like the 'Doorway Effect' or the momentary lapse that causes one to forget why they entered a room.
This article is meant purely for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional for specific advice on your health. This article has not been reviewed by any medical professionals or legal bodies.
Resources https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/menopause-and-memory-know-the-facts-202111032630 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6365200/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21280086/ https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/wechsler-memory-scale https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20160307-why-does-walking-through-doorways-make-us-forget