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Memory loss is a common symptom that many women struggle with during menopause. Menopause is a stage of every women’s reproductive life. It typically begins at the age of 50 but some women may experience it slightly earlier. During menopause, the monthly menstruation period stops and reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone significantly drop.
Menopausal symptoms are the result of reduced estrogen levels. Estrogen contributes to reproductive function as well as brain processes such as attention and memory.
When estrogen starts to drop during menopause, women experience attention problems and memory loss. Also known as brain fog, this symptom is exacerbated by menopause-related sleep disturbances.
Estrogen plays a role in the signal transmission inside the brain. When estrogen levels fall, they impact the brain’s neural system. Low estrogen makes information processing and retention difficult. These problems can negatively affect a woman’s life at work as well as at home. For example, menopausal women experiencing brain fog may have problems concentrating on certain tasks. They can easily forget the names of people they just met.
These attention problems are related to the brain’s working memory which focuses on new information. Studies link estrogen fluctuations during menopause to a decrease in working memory performance.
Menopausal symptoms can be alleviated using a variety of treatments. Specialists suggest good sleep, a low-fat diet, and exercise. Additionally, activities that stimulate brain activity can help improve memory function. To counter the compounded effects of menopause and aging, women can complete crossword puzzles, Sudoku games, among other forms of brain games.
Medical treatment for menopausal symptoms focuses on replacing the reduced hormones. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be used to improve menopausal symptoms including memory loss. HRT consists of estrogen-progesterone combination or an estrogen-only treatment. HRT replenishes the low levels of hormones in the body to relieve menopausal symptoms.
By replacing the ovaries’ production of estrogen, HRT increases estrogen levels which helps alleviate menopausal symptoms. Women who receive HRT report a significant improvement in their menopausal symptoms including a better memory function.
HRT is available in many forms. One of the most common HRT methods is tablet form. Daily pills are prescribed to improve menopausal symptoms. Alternatively, women can use skin patches. HRT patches contain the needed hormones. After applying the patch to the skin, the hormones are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Other HRT methods include gels, creams, and implants. Gels are easily applied to the skin while creams can be location-specific. For example, vaginal estrogen can be taken in the form of a cream. HRT implants are placed under the skin to release estrogen over the course of several months.
Before the doctor prescribes HRT, they go through the patient’s medical history. Due to the side effects of HRT, not all women can receive HRT. For example, women with a history of preexisting conditions such as cardiovascular disease or breast cancer may not be the best candidates for HRT.
At Hormone Replacement Therapy, Dr. David Nazarian offers the most advanced and effective HRT options for LA residents. For more information about available estrogen HRT, check our page on estrogen replacement therapy.
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