Causes of Memory Lapses

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Several factors can collaborate to create memory lapses in women going through menopause. But like many other menopausal symptoms, memory lapses are caused largely by hormonal imbalance. Memory lapses can also be a compound of other menopausal symptoms that affect a woman's concentration level and mental retention. Certain risk factors or lifestyle choices may increase women's chances of experiencing memory lapses as well.

Continue reading to learn about the hormonal causes of memory lapses, as well as other causes and risk factors, in order to have a better idea of how to treat them.

Memory lapses are commonly experienced by women undergoing the period leading up to menopause. As a woman approaches menopause, certain hormonal levels in the body decrease. These diminishing levels of hormones, particularly estrogen, have a myriad of effects upon a woman's body and mind.

In the case of memory lapses, estrogen plays an especially key role. It has a large effect on the functions of the brain and influences language skills, mood, attention, and a number of other functions, including memory. Estrogen is directly linked to verbal word fluency (the ability to remember names and words). It's no wonder then that as a woman's estrogen levels begin to drop, her memory may suffer.

Estrogen's Effect on the Mind and Memory

As estrogen reaches the brain, it activates different regions of the brain that have various functions, including an area responsible for memory called the hippocampus. In the hippocampus, estrogen acts to increase levels of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which influences memory. Additionally, estrogen relaxes and opens up blood vessels to allow more blood flow to the brain, also influencing memory and other brain functions.

While hormonal changes, particularly regarding estrogen, play a key role in the phenomenon of memory lapses, there are other issues that may be at work as well. Certain women may be more at risk than others. Read on to learn more about potential memory lapses risk factors for menopausal women.

Risk Factors for Memory Lapses

Although decreases in hormones such as estrogen are the most common cause of memory lapses for women going through menopause, there are other risk factors that could have an effect on the likelihood of experiencing this frustrating symptom.

Risk Factors

Processed food and alcohol: memory lapses risk factors

Excessive amounts of alcohol

Some medications (sleeping pills, antidepressants, blood pressure and heart medications, pain killers, tranquilizers)

Vitamin deficiencies

Poor diet

Lack of sleep

Excessive workload

In addition to these risk factors, there are other symptoms attributed to menopause itself that could influence a woman's ability to concentrate. Keep reading to learn more about other, menopause-related factors.

Other Menopausal Symptoms that Cause Memory Lapses

Memory lapses can be affected by other menopausal symptoms, especially symptoms that can fatigue or distract the mind. In fact, some scientists believe a combination of menopausal symptoms, most of which are caused by hormonal imbalance, are the true culprit behind memory lapses experienced during menopause.

Common Menopausal Symptoms That Can Lead to Memory Lapses

Hot flashes

Night sweats




Sleep disorders

Mood swings

Although this view is still under research, nearly all researchers agree that other menopausal symptoms can influence memory lapses. All can be traced to the same hormonal source as well.

In certain cases, memory lapses can be a sign of a more serious problem, in which case professional assistance is recommended. Continue reading to find out when it would be wise to see a doctor about memory lapses.

When to See a Doctor about Memory Lapses

Did You Know

A weaker memory is also a sign of getting older. Cell death in the brain begins as early as age 40, but measurable intellectual slowing doesn't occur until age 60 and doesn't accelerate until age 80.

Memory lapses are only a problem for a woman going through menopause if she finds they are interfering with her daily life, in which case she should consult a health care provider. However, there are times when memory lapses could indicate more than a symptom of menopause.

If a woman is experiencing severe memory lapses, where she finds it difficult to recall information she's known for years and routinely used, she should consult a doctor to be checked for the following illnesses associated with memory lapses:

Alzheimer's disease

Infections of the brain such as encephalitis or meningitis

Head trauma, stroke

Multi-infarct dementia


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Fortunately, at whatever level a woman is experiencing memory lapses, there are solutions. Click on the following link to read more about the treatments for memory lapses.

What Causes Memory Lapses?

Memory lapses are frustrating, but most of the time they are a normal part of being human. However, when lapses occur frequently, begin to affect your life, or your loved ones express concern, it is worth considering the various other factors that could be causing forgetfulness.

Can Alcohol Cause Memory Loss?

It's no secret that drinking alcohol can be fun, and make us feel confident and relaxed, but can alcohol cause memory loss? The fact is, it can. Binge drinking and drinking heavily in the long term can cause short-term and permanent memory issues that are as dangerous as they are unpleasant.