Menopause and memory loss

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- As women approach menopause, we experience a variety of symptoms that wreak havoc on our minds and our bodies. We’re already stressed, but when we begin experiencing symptoms like memory loss, weight gain, irregular or heavy periods, mood swings, hot flashes, low libido, vaginal dryness, night sweats and insomnia, it’s no wonder so many of us feel like we’re going crazy. We’re not. Lower levels of estrogen and testosterone are the root cause.

So what’s happening? Testosterone, or the hunter, targets our short-term recall, abstract thinking and memory retention. Estrogen, or the gatherer, helps all of our brain systems work together to communicate effectively. When these hormone levels drop, it’s no wonder our brains get foggy! Other risk factors like poor diet, vitamin deficiencies, excessive alcohol use, side effects of medications, lack of sleep or other health conditions like low thyroid can affect memory, too.

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, can help relieve debilitating menopause symptoms, revitalize health and restore clarity and focus. Sadly, the American media is confusing and scaring women about HRT, based on a few bad studies. There are numerous studies from Europe and around the world showing that certain forms of HRT, like bio-identicals, are not only safe, but also help reduce the risk factors for many diseases. Unlike pharmaceutical hormones, which must be metabolized through the liver, bio-identical hormones have the same chemical structure as the hormones your body is lacking, so the body recognizes and metabolizes them in the same way as hormones made by your body.

It’s critical for women to advocate for their own health, especially during the menopause years. If you’re experiencing the types of symptoms we’ve talked about, get your hormone levels checked, and work with your doctor to decide what form of HRT is right for you.

Dr. Angela DeRosa is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Internal Medicine and Women's Health. DeRosa Medical has locations in Scottsdale, Sedona and Chandler. For more information, call 480-619-4097 or visit