Menopause brings with it some massive changes that affect every area of life. If you are wondering how menopause can impact your memory and your brain, there is more and more data that points to what a huge difference menopause makes in brain function. Understanding what you are up against is key for women and memory issues.
Menopause and Memory Are Definitely Linked
The hormonal changes that women experience during menopause are legendary in their scope. But something you might not have realized is that those changes can also impact how your brain functions, specifically how working memory operates. This can often feel as if you are experiencing memory issues or even dealing with the earliest stages of dementia. What is happening is thankfully a simpler issue, but you still need to pay attention to what your memory issues are telling you.
Women and Memory Issues, Your Brain and Menopause
Hormones necessary for reproduction, like estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, are also crucial in other areas of the body, like the brain. These hormones do have an impact on brain health, how the brain operates, and how memory functions. There are other changes throughout the body during menopause, too, that impact the brain. Glucose is handled differently during menopause and brain levels of glucose drop during menopause. Why is that a problem? The brain needs glucose in order to function, so a drop in glucose levels means that the brain suddenly doesn’t have all of the fuel that it needs.
Protecting Your Memory Starts Sooner than You Think
Menopause typically starts anywhere from age 40 to 50, with some variation depending on individual circumstances. Brain changes can start to happen in midlife, however, so compensating for the changes that you are likely to experience during menopause might need to start sooner than you expect. That means prioritizing overall health as well. There is no way to know how menopause is going to affect you, your body, and your brain until you get there, but there are steps that you can take now.
What Can You Do Now to Protect Your Memory?
Maintaining brain health first involves keeping your brain active and engaged. Learning new things and engaging in activities that are stimulating and that you enjoy are great ideas. It’s also vital that you prioritize sleep. Sleep is important for allowing your body to recharge, but it is also when your brain is able to recover and to shift memories from short-term memory into long-term memory. Without quality sleep, your brain starts to act like a computer that needs a reboot. Exercise and a healthy diet round out the recommendations for helping your memory to withstand the rigors of menopause.
Preventing memory loss and protecting your brain is a lifelong goal that comes with lots of challenges along the way. Menopause does not have to completely undo all of the work you have already done to protect your brain function. The best thing to do is to keep focusing on brain health and keeping your brain functioning as well as possible, which means supporting brain health as much as you can.