- March 14, 2012
Science Daily/University of Rochester Medical Center
The difficulties that many women describe as memory problems when menopause approaches are real, according to a study published recentlyin the journal Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society.
"The most important thing to realize is that there really are some cognitive changes that occur during this phase in a woman's life," said Miriam Weber, Ph.D., the neuropsychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who led the study. "If a woman approaching menopause feels she is having memory problems, no one should brush it off or attribute it to a jam-packed schedule. She can find comfort in knowing that there are new research findings that support her experience. She can view her experience as normal."
Women who reported memory difficulties were also more likely to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. The team did not find any link between memory problems and hormone levels.
Generally anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of women during this stage of life report forgetfulness and other difficulties that they view as related to poor memory.
"If you speak with middle-aged women, many will say, yes, we've known this. We've experienced this," said Weber, assistant professor of Neurology. "But it hasn't been investigated thoroughly in the scientific literature.
"Science is finally catching up to the reality that women don't suddenly go from their reproductive prime to becoming infertile. There is this whole transition period that lasts years. It's more complicated than people have realized."