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Memory Problems During Menopause are Real, Study Confirms

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2012-03-19 06:26

If you are a woman who is going through menopause and you’re having memory problems, you’re not crazy—those bouts of forgetfulness and “brain fog” episodes are real, according to a study in the journal Menopause. Even though memory problems during menopause may be normal, there are ways to deal with them.

Memory problems can be frightening

When forgetfulness hits women in their forties and fifties, the experience can be frightening, confusing, and disruptive. Suddenly it can seem like they can’t remember the right words or finish a sentence, they forget where they parked their car, and their mind goes blank when introducing an old friend.

Up to two-thirds of women during this stage of life experience these types of memory glitches. And it doesn’t help or ease their worries when other people in their lives, including the medical community, dismiss their problems and concerns.

Results of a new study have now validated the memory problems and cognitive changes that occur in many women during menopause. The words of the study’s leader, Miriam Weber, PhD, a neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), can be reassuring for millions of women, as she explained that “If a woman approaching menopause feels she is having memory problems…she can find comfort in knowing that there are new research findings that support her experience. She can view her experience as normal.”

The investigative team from URMC and the University of Illinois at Chicago utilized a battery of cognitive tests to evaluate 75 women (age 40 -60) who were approaching or starting menopause. Along with the tests, the women revealed information about their menopause symptoms, and blood levels of estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone were measured.

Here’s how the women’s complaints were associated with their memory problems. For example, women who said they had memory problems were much more likely to:

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