Is The Menopause Making You Lose Your Mind?
The menopause is defined as the time when a woman has her last menstrual period. For 12 months after her last period, she is described as being in ‘early menopause’. There is also a time leading up to this last menstrual cycle which is known as the perimonopausal stage, and it is at this time that the most health concerns emerge in women.
During the menopausal time, many women complain that they are struggling with their concentration and their memory, with the phrase ‘losing your mind’ often used to indicate the severity of how this feels. New research has confirmed that the menopause actually does affect women’s cognitive wellbeing and that the symptoms they experience are real.
Fortunately, the good news is that you are not losing your mind – this is a real phenomenon, so you no longer have to worry about what you are experiencing. During the perimenopause, your ovaries start to produce less oestrogen, culminating in them ceasing to ovulate. This stage can last from a few months up to as much as ten years, although on average women go through this stage for four years. Changes in mood are common during this stage and wellness can also be affected by other symptoms such as hot flashes.
Research has shown that women who were tested on verbal memory, fine motor skills, verbal learning, working memory and attention skills during the time period following their menopause did worse than women who were in the stage prior to the menopause. This may be due to the effect that oestrogen (and the reduction of it) has on the brain areas associated with function and memory.
In order to minimise the impact that this stage in life has on your brain, you should keep your brain active by doing brain tasks and puzzles, learning new skills and so on. You should also try to avoid stress as this can have a detrimental effect too. Above all, take care of your overall health and wellness and this will help minimise the impact of this stage of your life.