How Menopause Can Change Your Brain

Menopause is a process that marks the end of the female reproductive years. While menopause is commonly associated with physical symptoms like hot flashes, menopause also brings about significant changes in the brain. These changes are not as widely discussed as the physical symptoms, but they can have just as much of an impact.

Declining Estrogen Levels

One of the biggest factors that contributes to changes in the brain during menopause is the overall decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen has far-reaching effects on various parts of the body, including the brain. It plays a vital role in maintaining brain health, and as estrogen levels decrease during menopause, the brain undergoes structural and functional alterations.

Feelings of “Brain Fog”

Throughout life, women outperform men on cognitive tests designed to measure verbal memory. However, the level of advantage decreases with the onset of menopause. Many women feel like they are experiencing brain fog or forgetting more than they used to. Depending on when your menopause begins, you might notice neurological impacts sooner or later than your peers.

Mood Changes

Menopause can also impact your mood and emotional well-being. Fluctuating hormone levels can lead to mood swings, irritability, and an increased risk of developing mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Because estrogen influences the production and regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, it can be challenging to regulate your mood as you did before. Decreasing estrogen levels can disrupt the delicate balance of these neurotransmitters, which leads to changes in your mood and emotional stability.

Increased Risk of Neurological Disease

Additionally, menopause is associated with an increased risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Estrogen has neuroprotective properties, and declining levels during menopause can make your brain more susceptible to diseases. Alzheimer’s impacts almost 6 million people in America, and 2/3 of that figure is women. Researchers are currently trying to determine if decreasing estrogen is a potential factor.

How Can You Protect Your Brain Health During Menopause?

  • Eat a balanced diet. Research indicates that the Mediterranean diet can work well to slow the signs of brain aging.
  • Physical activity can help maintain overall physical health, and it can also help to decrease stress levels.
  • Keep your brain active through regular social contact and activities like coloring and reading.
  • Always get enough sleep, even before you start menopause. You need at least seven hours of sleep a night in order to maintain proper brain health.

Get the Care Your Loved One Deserves with Senior Care Lifestyles

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Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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