As a woman, learning to navigate hormonal imbalance, understand the ups and downs of estrogen levels and live with the side effects of menopause are all a part of the journey. Now, in addition to mood swings and hot flashes, there is another condition that has been linked to menopause. If you or a loved one has ever complained of memory lapse during menopause, research confirms there is now scientific evidence to back it up, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.
Study Finds That 'Brain Fog' Is Real
A collaborative study by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School led to confirmation that a woman's reproductive stage is linked with lapses in memory, reported the IFGO. In an analysis that was originally of 200 males and females between the ages of 45 and 55, it was found that the dip in hormone levels that occurs during menopause is linked to changes in the functioning of both the brain and memory, which can cause temporary forgetfulness.
"We set out to study cognitive ageing from a women's health perspective," said lead author Dr. Emily Jacobs. "One of the most profound hormonal changes in a woman's life is the transition to menopause. By shifting our focus to this midlife period, we detected early changes in memory circuitry that are evident decades before the age range traditionally targeted by cognitive neuroscience studies on ageing."
A Change in Estrogen Levels
Estrogen levels, which cause other common symptoms and side effects of menopause, were the central factor in identifying complications with recollection, reported Newsmax Health. One of the primary forms of estrogen, estradiol is related to an area of memory function in the brain called the hippocampus. By asking study participants to take part in various learning and recall tasks, the researchers concluded that females with decreased levels of estradiol did not perform as well as their counterparts. While participants were performing these tasks, MRI scans also tracked signals in the brain.
The lower the levels of estradiol were, the more significant the changes in cognitive activity recorded and thus, memory recall, were. Research showed that brain function patterns were similar among premenopausal women and menopausal women, while the cognitive activity of postmenopausal women was different. In addition to a heightened forgetfulness,"brain fog," as researchers like to call it, also encompasses difficulty in thinking clearly and trouble focusing, noted Newsmax Health.
Relieve Symptoms Naturally
However, there was an outlier to this general consensus: Close to 33 percent of women who had the highest scores on the tasks were in post menopause and also had low levels of estradiol. Further research is needed to fully understand why. However, researchers hypothesized that it may have to do with how estrogen is used by the body or the cognitive exercise levels of an individual over the years, reported Newsmax Health.
Regardless, concluded the researchers, it's important for women to know that these experiences of forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating are completely normal. If you are looking for ways to reduce symptoms and side effects, consider a diet rich in primarily raw, plant-based foods. For those going through menopause looking for additional natural relief, Hallelujah Diet's Luminology Breeze supplement can aid in naturally restoring hormonal balance, thus helping to alleviate symptoms including brain fog.