A slightly spotty memory is typically associated with the move into middle age, heralded by misplaced keys and forgotten grocery lists. For some, this forgetfulness spurs fears of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, but did you know that for many women, “brain fog” is often another side effect of menopause? Luckily, there are steps you can take to get your memory back in order.
Why You’re Forgetting
If you find yourself suddenly leaving your coffee on the roof of the car or missing lunch dates with friends, you’re not alone. Countless women of menopausal age are also dealing with brain fog related to menopause. The cause of your forgetfulness is rooted in the same hormonal shifts that cause other signs of menopause like hot flashes.
Essentially, menopause causes the levels of estrogen in your brain to fluctuate as the production of this hormone tapers off. And the part of your brain that controls working memory – the kind of memory that you use to keep track of what’s going on in a conversation and make sure you pick up everything on your grocery list – is filled with estrogen receptors.
The fluctuations of estrogen levels that are a signature of menopause happen too fast for those receptors in the memory centers of your brain to adjust, leading to forgetfulness and a host of other cognitive symptoms that fall under the catch-all term “brain fog.”
How Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Can Help
Eventually, your body’s estrogen levels will stop fluctuating, and your memory function will improve. In the meantime, though, bioidentical hormone therapy can play a significant role in improving your memory while you’re in your menopausal years.
In conjunction with other ways of dealing with menopause like exercise, a healthy diet, and proper sleep, hormone therapy with bioidentical estradiol can keep estrogen levels steady, reducing brain fog (as well as other symptoms) by eliminating those hormone fluctuations.
Why bioidentical hormones? As opposed to conventional hormone replacement therapies with conjugated equine therapy, bioidentical estradiol can be custom tailored to the patient’s own body. Because it’s exactly the same as your own estrogen at a molecular level, it can be used more easily by your body and brain to limit memory loss symptoms caused by menopause.
Although bioidentical hormone therapy isn’t right for everyone (for example, women with a history or high risk of breast cancer should generally avoid it), a regimen of bioidentical estradiol under the watch of a qualified, caring provider may be the best way to bust through brain fog and protect your memory.