THE BRAIN – ON MENOPAUSE
Got brain fog? Feel like you’ve been forgetting more often or having trouble concentrating?
A lot of women notice cognitive changes during menopause that leave them feeling “fuzzy,” a little (or a lot) less sharp than they used to be. For many women, these are troubling changes. They wonder — and worry about — where it will end.
It’s not entirely clear why these symptoms arise during menopause. Several studies have been done to test whether hormonal changes—especially estrogen loss—are behind the brain fog. But many scientists believe that the mental fogginess in menopause is less direct.
It’s not that hormone levels affect cognitive faculties directly. Instead, they drive other symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings and poor sleep. These symptoms in turn impact memory and other cognitive functions.
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It makes sense because estrogen is indeed known to affect brain chemicals essential for regulating both mood and sleep, and inconsistent moods and sleep are both associated with memory problems.
But there is a caveat:
As people age, certain cognitive abilities gradually weaken. While we tend to get wiser, our brains also tend to slow. Our neurons don’t fire quite as quickly as they once did. This slowing is miniscule—just a few milliseconds, maybe — but it can make a big difference to memory, thinking, and focus. And menopause has an interesting relation to this normal age-related cognitive decline.
Before menopause, men decline at a faster rate than women. But during menopause, women catch up. Postmenopausal women show an average rate of decline that matches that of men. So while the cognitive changes a woman senses during menopause may be just a part of normal aging, they may feel accelerated.
And women aren’t the only ones dealing with brain fog. Men going through the process of Andropause (male menopause) can very much benefit from hormonal treatment. Decreased testosterone levels in men can be treated with hormone replacement. For men, hormones not only affect the sexual arena, but may also affect cognitive functioning necessary for a productive lifestyle.
So rest assured it is normal to feel like your brain isn’t at its best during menopause. Whether your brain changes result from menopause or if they’re part of normal aging, there are several ways to improve brain performance, including getting the right kinds of exercise, eating brain-healthy foods, actively socializing, and learning new tasks.
All are important for overall brain health. And for some, BHRT – bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a great approach.
Hormones affect every cell in the body, and the only way to supplement what the body has stopped producing, or is producing in lesser quantity, is to replenish the hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone—under certain conditions and following well-defined guidelines. For both men and women, BHRT can increase the overall sense of well-being.
At The Healthy Choice Compounding Pharmacy, we specialize in BHRT for both men and women and work closely with your physician to formulate just the right prescription for your brain health needs.
SEE ALSO: Menopause Relief Without Hormones