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.
Hot flashes — a defining symptom of menopause — can seriously interrupt your life. A hot flash can occur without warning, creating unpleasant episodes especially if your face flushes, or if you routinely perspire through your clothes. As night sweats, they can wake you from a sound sleep, with your pajamas and sheets soaked through. When you have a hot flash, the temperature regulating area within your brain — in the hypothalamus — is deceived into trying to get rid of extra body heat. The hypothalamus sends cool-down signals telling your blood vessels to dilate, your heart rate to increase, and your sweat glands to open up wide.
While most women don’t enter the full swing of menopause until their late 40s or 50s, others may experience the very first signs of changing hormone balances as early as their mid 30s. Known as “perimenopause,” the first signs of menopause occur when the ovaries slow their production of estrogen and continue until they stop releasing eggs entirely.
For some women, menopause may simply mark a transition into a new period of life; for others, however, perimenopause and menopause can signal a huge disruption to quality of life due to a range of symptoms and physical changes. If you experience any of the following symptoms to the extreme, hormone therapy may be able to help.