advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Is Memory Loss One Of The Symptoms Of Menopause?

What accounts for the memory problems women develop at menopause? Are they hormonal symptoms of menopause or just a sign of aging?

A
Answer (Published 11/14/2003)

Actually, the complaints about failing memory so many women voice may be more illusion than reality. Results of a recently completed study showed that menopausal women demonstrated no signs of mental decline and that their scores on memory tests improved over the time they participated in the study. The results were published in the September 23, 2003, issue of the medical journal Neurology.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Women's Health Issues - If you are going through menopause, a support group can be helpful. The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide has a vibrant, active community of supportive members, and a dedicated moderator to help guide you along. Start your 14-day free trial now!

Researchers at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago recruited 803 white and black women, ages 42 to 52, most of whom hadn't yet stopped menstruating completely. None of the participants took hormone replacement therapy. Once a year for almost six years, the researchers gave the women memory tests that involved repeating long strings of numbers backward and quickly identifying pairs of symbols and digits. The researchers expected to see scores drop as the women got older, but instead all the scores rose. On one of the memory tests, scores rose by an average of three percent.

Until now, researchers assumed that declining levels of estrogen affect healthy brain function and therefore might explain the forgetfulness so many menopausal women notice as one of the possible symptoms of menopause. In light of their results, the research team speculated that any memory problems menopausal women encounter may be due less to hormonal changes and more to stress, such as that of dealing with adolescent children, aging parents, and the conflicting responsibilities of home and work. The researchers admitted, however, that their tests may not have revealed changes in specific kinds of memory that might be more affected by hormones. Some studies have shown that memory of words may decline, although other studies haven't confirmed this connection.

If you're concerned about your memory, try reducing the stress in your life with meditation and other relaxation techniques. Some foods can be helpful, particularly those containing omega-3 fatty acids (including salmon, sardines and flax seeds) and those containing anthocyanin pigments (blueberries are the best source). Also, recent research indicates that the yellow spice turmeric may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and take a good multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement. Regular aerobic exercise can further help, as can keeping your mind active by reading, doing puzzles or discussing current events.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Read other articles by Dr. Weil on symptoms of menopause.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here