Every day, about 6,000 American women enter menopause. The average woman enters menopause at age 51, but perimenopause symptoms typically begin four years earlier, according to P&G.
During their transition, nearly two-thirds of those women will experience subjective cognitive difficulties, such as memory fog. Symptoms also include attention or language deficits.
Despite a number of studies, the basis for these cognitive challenges is still poorly understood. With that in mind, researchers from the Department of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted research to gain a better understanding of menopausal brain fog.
In a cross-sectional analysis of a population-based study published in JAMA, researchers studied 230 subjects. The study noted that 62% of women reported subjective cognitive problems during the menopausal transition. Examples of these issues included difficulty retrieving words or numbers, forgetting the purpose of a behavior (such as forgetting why they entered a room or store), losing train of thought, and overlooking appointments.
Getting to the root of the problem
Women with menopause-related cognitive impairment don’t always connect the dots to menopause. Rather, they often mistakenly believe that they’re developing dementia, which was the case for Carrie Mapes.
“The symptom that really brought me to my knees was memory fog. I have a history of early onset alzheimers in my family. I was finding myself crafting a sentence and not being able to find the word,” recalled Mapes.
On a recent episode of the NutraCast, Mapes explained that memory shrinkage is a natural part of getting older, so women often associate it with aging, not realizing hormonal shifts are the culprit.
Mapes and her friend Patty Pappas founded Hello Again, an all-natural line of cannabis-infused menopause care products. The two made the decision after being unable to find plant-based, natural solutions to their menopause symptoms. With the guidance of medical and cannabis consultants, their line of all-natural CBD and THC vaginal suppositories aim to alleviate common menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, cognitive challenges and sleep difficulty.
While it is picking up steam, still only a handful of companies are targeting women’s midlife health issues, and this space remains largely untapped.
According to P&G, the menopause treatment market is expected to reach a valuation of $3.3 billion by 2023.
While not all address cognitive function, common ingredients consumed during menopause include Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Dong Quai, Ginseng, Kava and Evening Primrose Oil.
Top ingredients for cognitive function include, omega-3 & cognitive function, PhosphatidylSerine (PS) B-vitamins, Vitamin E, Lutein and Citicoline just to name a few. You can find a more detailed list here.
“The Menopause Transition and Cognition”
Authors: G. Greendale et al.