Memory loss can be a persistent symptom during the menopause and is often a great source of anxiety and apprehension. Lapses in memory can occur because of the lowering levels of oestrogen in our systems, affecting our short-term memory. Here, our menopause expert Eileen Durward describes the causes of memory lapses, and how they can be alleviated through natural remedies and self-help practices.
Memory lapses occur when you momentarily forget everyday things such as where you put your pen down, the date of an appointment or what your next door neighbour is called. This can be irritating, sometimes embarrassing and often worrying.
Going through the menopause may cause you to have difficulty concentrating or make your brain freeze as you grope into its depths trying to remember what time to pick up your child from football practice. Memory lapses affecting menopausal women tend to hinder short-term memory rather than cause you to forget major events from your past.
Menopause disrupts the balance of hormones in your body. At the same time, your brain contains oestrogen receptors and is responsive to this hormone, helping your brain function better, aiding memory and verbal fluency. When levels of oestrogen in your body drop, it is no wonder that you may suffer unexpected lapses in memory.
It is worth remembering that memory lapses, like other menopause symptoms you are experiencing, should not last. The research holds out hope that once you are through the menopause, you will be able to recall information more effectively again.
However, if you are suffering from continued, severe or worsening memory symptoms, rather than mild memory falters, then it is necessary to seek advice from a doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.
Vitamin B – taking a vitamin B complex supplement can also aid your mental function and help prevent lapses in memory
Make sure you sleep well – if you don’t sleep at night, and spend your waking hours tired, your ability to remember information will reduce. Getting a proper amount of sleep at night has been proven to increase your mental function and concentration during the day. If you have trouble sleeping at night, our sleep hygiene tips page may help
Relax – it is important to take time every day to relax. If you begin to panic when your brain denies you information, this will only make the situation worse.
Memory lapses related to the menopause tend not to linger once you are through this time of life. This means that there are no drugs specifically designed to help with your menopausal memory lapses which your doctor can recommend.
If you are suffering from more long-term memory loss and you begin to forget things which you have known for years, then it is best to seek medical advice.
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You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.