Women cringe when they think about the onset of menopause – the hot flashes, mood swings and “fuzzy” thinking, and the helplessness they feel. Men cringe at the thought of the onset of their wife’s menopause – the hot flashes, the mood swings, the “fuzzy” thinking, and the helplessness they feel. That’s right, they both go through the same thing, from a different perspective, and neither one is pleasant. When is it going to end?

Scientists are not certain as to why these symptoms occur. Several studies have been conducting suggesting hormonal changes are behind the brain fog due to loss of estrogen. So far there are several differing opinions as to the results of the studies, but doctors have been prescribing hormonal replacement medication to help the symptoms subside.

Some say that adding estrogen replacement will improve memory and other “brain fog” symptoms, while others believe it has no effect at all. They think that hormone levels don’t directly affect brain function, but drive other symptoms – such as mood swings and insomnia, that indirectly have an affect on brain and memory functions. This makes sense because estrogen is important to the regulation of mood and sleep, and both are related to memory function.

Before women reach the age of menopause (usually around the age of 50) they have the advantage of being ahead of the memory and age-related declines. When they hit menopause the race becomes equal. Changes in memory and cognitive thinking are signs of normal aging, but in women the process has speeded up to they feel like it’s happening all at once.

The role of hormones in the brain is complicated, and often seems contradictory. Not everyone goes through the same experience, and some get a combination of changes while others only experience periodic differences, one at a time. Estrogen affects both serotonin and beta-endorphin levels – one of which uplifts moods while the other is a downer. No wonder a woman gets confused – their bodies are conflicted!

It’s normal to feel abnormal, although that’s no comfort when you are going through it – or having to live with someone going through it. The good news is that eventually it levels out and your brain returns to some semblance of normalcy, although you may still have symptoms of menopause for many years.

Whether your brain changes are a result of menopause or normal aging, you can do some things to get back that loving feeling. Get proper nutrition and exercise, learn to do something different than you normally do, and talk to a doctor if the symptoms are just too hard to handle.

Menopause is not studied as often as other parts of the body and its functions are, so in the meantime seek alternative ways to bring your memory and cognitive skills back to normal, or even improve memory to make you feel younger!



Postit Science – The Brain on Menopause:  http://www.positscience.com/human-brain/facts-myths/brain-on-menopause