By Womaness Editors 1-Minute Read
Welcome to ASK AN EXPERT, a series where we pose your real questions to our menopause experts for the answers you need. Have a question? Post it on The After Party, our private Facebook Group.
“Why does my brain seem to be so foggy in menopause? Sometimes I lose things or can't find my words. I'm suddenly so forgetful.”
From Dr. Somi Javaid, board-certified OB/GYN physician/surgeon & founder & Chief Medical Officer of HerMD: “I take care of a lot of women who say they can no longer function the way they normally do in their daily life. They tell me:
"I can't find my words. Whether I'm talking to my kids or in a board meeting, it's on the tip of my tongue, but I can't find it."
"I went to the pantry with a clear intention of what I wanted. Then I stand in there and go, 'Why am I here?'"
“I can’t find things. Or I’ve misplaced something, like my keys or a document I need for a meeting…”
Along with cognitive changes like these, we also see increased levels of depression and increased levels of anxiety—because if you feel like you're not functioning the way you're used to, it's distressing. It's not something you're doing wrong. Menopause is just happening.
"It's not something you're doing wrong. Menopause is just happening."
There are studies supporting mild cognitive decline during this time. As we start to see hormonal levels going down, we see symptoms like problems with word-finding and memory.
But data reviews show if we treat women early with hormone replacement therapy—right as they're going into menopause, if they're good candidates—we will see benefit. (There were earlier studies that showed no benefit and some harm with cognitive decline with HRT, but that was when doctors were waiting too long to start it, like 15 or 20 years into menopause.) But with HRT, I see clinical improvements in memory, word-finding, and everyday function.
Women then say, "I feel like my brain is firing on all cylinders again!" And I’ll also see a positive impact on mood. Women do feel better. They tend to seem less anxious. And their confidence is restored."