If you’re a woman around 40 or 50 years old, you may notice that it’s harder to remember things. For some of us, it can be so bad that we start worrying about Alzheimer’s Disease. Well, a new study is out, and the message is: don’t worry! The research shows that women approaching menopause do become slightly slower at learning new things.
The good news is that the memory problems are a transient phenomenon, and in the post-menopause period, memory returns to what it was before.
This UCLA study is the first to chart those perceived cognitive changes in a systematic way. More than 2000 women between the ages of 42 and 52 were put through a series of memory tests that were repeated over a four-year period.
Researchers aren’t sure why women experience temporary memory problems, but one theory is that symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may prevent women from getting a good night’s sleep which, in turn, impairs their cognitive functions during the day.
It’s also possible that huge swings in hormone levels could be to blame.
The study also found that hormone replacement therapy seems to lessen the memory problems of perimenopause. But the researchers caution that HRT should be taken for only the shortest time possible because prolonged use is associated with other health risks.