While some women do have crisp memory retention as they approach menopause, many will begin to suffer from memory lapses. One study shows that women nearing menopause are 95% more likely to experience memory lapses than younger women who are not yet at this stage in life, which typically occurs around age 50. This is because the hormonal imbalance during menopause can affect her mental functions and cause memory lapses. Specifically, memory lapses often occur as a result of estrogen fluctuations.
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat estrogen imbalances. While it was once common to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat memory lapses and hormonal imbalances, the medication's link to side effects like an increased risk of breast cancer and blood clots has prompted many doctors to reconsider such a drastic treatment. Instead, most concur that a combination of lifestyle changes and alternative treatments is the best form of treating memory problems.
Three Approaches to Treating Memory Lapses:
Three stages of approaches are typically considered when treating memory lapses. These are defined as: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medical Treatments.
Women are encouraged to commence treatment with the least-risky approach - lifestyle changes - before progressing to the next level. Typically, medical treatments are reserved as a last resort, only when other methods do not provide relief.
1. Lifestyle Changes for Memory Lapses
This treatment approach includes the lowest risk, but it entails the most determination and self-control. In most cases, simple lifestyle adjustments can help with memory lapses and also improve overall health.
Fundamentally, techniques for stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation, combined with regular exercise and an improved diet, can do a woman great service in coping with memory lapses. Diet in particular is key. Studies have shown that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids aid mental functioning. Along with omega-3's, fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants, which can help improve memory. Nuts and seeds are rich in B vitamins like folate, which can also help curb memory lapses.
Games and puzzles can act as exercise for the brain and can help improve memory. There are specific games designed to boost memory capacity, but any game that stimulates the mind will serve memory as well. Some games that typically help with memory lapses are crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory tasks.like memorizing world capitals.
Simple Lifestyle Changes for Memory Lapses
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Sleep seven to eight hours per night
- Consume vitamins B, C, D, and E
- Practice breathing exercises
- Eat a balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Stay hydrated
Though lifestyle changes are a healthy and holistic method of reducing memory lapses, they can be hard to put into action and continue. Additionally, they do not treat hormonal imbalances, which are often the underlying cause of menopausal memory problems. Fortunately, alternative medicines are a safe and effective means of balancing hormones and, in turn, relieving memory lapses. Keep reading to learn more about natural treatments for memory problems.
2. Alternative Medicine for Memory Lapses
This treatment approach encompasses several different methods. Some of these address the psychological causes, while others affect the hormonal ones.
Psychological. Though uncommon, memory lapses are sometimes caused by extreme stress and overwork. In such cases, alternative treatments like therapeutic massage can alleviate stress, which would then have a positive effect on memory lapses.
Hormonal. More commonly, memory lapses during menopause are caused by a physical imbalance of the hormone estrogen. To treat this underlying imbalance, herbal supplements are the preferred option, since they are easier to follow and require less time and money.
Did You Know?
American ginseng can help improve working memory in middle-aged adults.
When it comes to herbal supplements, two types specifically address hormonal imbalances: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
In the case of phytoestrogenic supplements, like gingko, phytoestrogens - or plant-based estrogen molecules - can supply the body with necessary hormones and even out an estrogen deficiency. However, they should not be used for a prolonged time period, since introducing outside hormones into the body can cause it to become less capable of producing natural hormones, resulting in a long-term decline.
In the case of hormone-regulating supplements, such as Macafem, no hormones are present. Rather, these herbal supplements nourish the endocrine system, promoting optimum hormone production. Thus, not only are estrogen levels balanced, but also those of testosterone and progesterone. Because hormone production is natural and there are virtually no side effects, these supplements are considered a safe and effective way of treating memory lapses.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link to find out more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches is often the best form of treatment, namely a blend of lifestyle changes with herbal supplements. While this combination works for many women, in severe cases, the next level of treatment may be necessary. For those considering the medical approach, it is important to be fully aware of the risks associated with treatment.
3.Medical Treatments for Memory Lapses
This stage of treatment involves the highest risk and often the highest cost. In terms of medications to treat memory lapses, some address the psychological causes and others the hormonal causes.
Psychological. In rare cases, memory lapses can be a sign of a rare underlying emotional or psychological disorder. It is important to see a psychiatrist, since they can prescribe a medication to treat the underlying disorder, help with therapy, or both.
Hormonal. For menopausal memory problems, the most popular treatment in the United States in hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While it can be a quick and powerful way to replenish hormones and treat symptoms, it also poses the risk of dangerous side effects, like stroke and heart disease, as revealed in the study below.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health launched the Women's Health Initiative, which was the largest clinical trial ever performed in the U.S, designed to assess the benefits and risks of HRT. However, 11 years later it was stopped, after the initial results showed that artificial outside hormones increase the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, in addition to other adverse side effects.
Other medications for diagnosed cognitive impairment will vary by the underlying cause. Women experiencing menopausal memory lapses very rarely have need of these more drastic treatments:
Cholinesterase inhibitors. These medications help stabilize memory and thinking. They are most often used in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
NMDA receptor agonists. These drugs help prevent a further decline in cognitive ability by protecting neurons from death.
These three approaches -lifestyle adjustments, alternative medicine, and medications – are not mutually exclusive. They can be used and combined as necessary to best manage individual cases of memory lapses. Many women find that herbal supplements along with changes in lifestyle yield the best results when treating memory problems.
A Safe Way of Treating Memory Lapses
Start by practicing healthy habits:
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough B vitamins
- Reading more
- Solving puzzles
- Alcohol and tobacco
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Excess sugar
And taking hormone-regulating herbal supplements:
- Nourish and stimulate the hormonal glands
- Completely natural and high in nutrients
- Agnew-Blais, J.C. et al. (2015). Folate, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12 intake and mild cognitive impairment and probable dementia in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(2), 231-241. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.07.006
- Colcombe, S.J. et al. (2006). Aerobic exercise training increases brain volume in aging humans. The journals of gerontology, 61(11), 1166-1170. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17167157
- Food and Drug Administration. (2010). Coping with Memory loss. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm107783.htm
- Henderson, V.W. (2008). Cognitive Changes after Menopause: Influence of Estrogen. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 51(3), 614-626. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e318180ba10
- Greendale, G.A. , Derby, C.A. & Maki, P.M. (2012). Perimenopause and Cognition. Obstetrics and gynecology clinics of North America, 38(3), 519-535. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2011.05.007
- Kulzow, N. et al. (2016). Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 51(3), 713-725. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150886
- National Institute on Aging. (2016). Forgetfulness: Knowing When to Ask for Help. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/forgetfulness
- National Institute on Aging. (2015). The Dementias: Treatment. Retrieved May 4, 2016, from https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/dementias/treatment
- Ossoukhova, A. et al. (2015). Improved working memory performance following administration of a single dose of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) to healthy middle-age adults. Human Psychopharmacology, 30(2), 108-122. doi: 10.1002/hup.2463