Memory loss is a common symptom of the menopause. But many women do not realise that it is the fluctuating hormones during the perimenopause phase that causes this unsettling symptom.
So, how common is this menopause symptom and what causes it? Let's take a look.
How Common Is Menopause Memory Loss?
Memory loss and reduced cognitive function is associated with the perimenopause. This is the early stages of the menopause, which can last several years, where the ovaries start to become less responsive, causing the normal fluctuations in hormones during the menstrual cycle to become unbalanced. This causes a variety of symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flushes, and memory loss.
Cognitive decline can affect many aspects of a woman's life including our work life. Our own research looking at women in the workplace has shown that 43% of menopausal women experience memory issues and 47% experience low concentration while at work.
Across all cultures, 34-62% of women experience menopause-related memory changes which often mimic the symptoms associated with early signs of dementia. These changes can seem worrying but are a natural symptom of the perimenopause and menopause.
What Causes Memory Loss During The Menopause?
The lack of focus and concentration can be due to a decline in oestrogen levels due to the ovaries becoming less responsive. There are oestrogen receptors throughout the body and oestrogen itself plays a key role in bodily functions such as regulating body fat, reproduction, heart health, bone heath and also brain function.
However, declining oestrogen levels are not the only cause of poor cognitive function. Other menopause symptoms such night sweats can result in a lower quality of sleep, in addition, 63% of post-menopausal women suffer from insomnia. So all of this, along with the stresses of life women often experience during their 40s when perimenopause is likely to start, can contribute to poor cognitive function.
How To Find Out If Memory Loss Is Due To The Menopause
If you think you may be starting to transition to the menopause - this generally starts to happen from your early 40s - you can check your hormone levels over time to identify changes in your hormone pattern. Our perimenopause check tests the two control hormones, follicular stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone, along with oestrogen. Taking this test will help identify if your levels are within the expected range for your age, and regular testing over time will help identify variations outside of the normal range that may be contributing to your symptoms.
We will soon be launching a unique and innovative female hormone mapping product which accurately maps your hormones across an entire menstrual cycle using just two finger prick blood tests taken on day 14 and day 21 of your period. Click the banner below to find out more and sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know when it's launched.