Many women complain about their brains as they approach and enter menopause. Some women begin to have trouble juggling the many tasks of life. They feel a loss of memory and sometimes feel just plain foggy and disorganized–some even worry they are suffering from early stage dementia!
As it turns out, we may be able to attribute these cognitive changes to the drop in estrogen during menopause. Estrogen actually supports chemical signaling in the brain and promotes healthy brain cells. It is present in both male and female brains.
Recent studies have found changes in memory as women age and go through menopause. Some experts even worry that the prolonged period of hormonal disruption may somehow make women more vulnerable than men to Alzheimer’s disease.
Currently, studies are being conducted to determine whether early, limited estrogen treatment can help women emerge from this transition with healthier brains. Estrogen causes changes that are independent of normal brain aging, which also is associated with a decline in executive function. In fact, some women may have trouble thinking because hot flashes keep them from sleeping. The hormonal transition also occurs at a time when many women are seriously stressed.