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Our hormones influence nearly all the biological functions in our bodies and impact the symptoms of aging. We already shared how hormones affect our skin, teeth, and hair. We’ve also shared how sexual hormones contribute to your overall health, not just sexual health. It should come as no surprise that hormones heavily influence our mental abilities as well.

People take for granted that getting older means a decline in mental ability. Foggy thinking and difficulty concentrating are the most common symptoms of a hormone imbalance. Forgetting routine tasks and losing your train of thought is frustrating. The last thing we want is for that to start affecting our work and family lives.

These symptoms are not unavoidable and may be a sign of hormonal imbalance.

How does a hormone imbalance cause memory loss?

One of estrogen’s roles is to help regulate your cortisol levels. Estrogen is one of the primary sexual hormones and is found in both men and women. Cortisol affects the function of neurotransmitters, your brain’s chemical messengers. When estrogen levels decrease during menopause and andropause (male menopause), your body has a harder time regulating your cortisol level.

But what does cortisol have to do with memory loss? I’m glad you asked. It has to do with stress.

Stress interferes with your prefrontal mental processes, which include memory and concentration. Your body releases cortisol when it undergoes stress to regulate your body’s response. Decreased production of estrogen decreases your body’s ability to regulate its cortisol level. The result is that you experience memory loss and impaired mental abilities.

Is there a solution?

A study showed that women treated with estradiol reduced the cortisol response to a stressor. They experienced fewer negative effects of stress on working memory. Simply put, the study showed that estrogen improved memory and cognitive processes for these women.

Earlier studies suggest that people treated with hormones are better able to cope with stress and have improved mental performance. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and the process of creating a personalized, unique treatment plan to balance your hormones can help with the symptoms of impaired cognition (e.g., forgetfulness, memory loss, foggy thinking, etc.).

Balanced hormones are a key component to keeping your mind healthy and functioning, but it’s not the only thing. Physical activity, which increases blood flow to your entire body, can positively impact your cognition. Staying organized, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep are also extremely important!

Memory loss and foggy thinking can be frustrating and problematic. A healthy lifestyle is important, but may not address the underlying hormone imbalance that many people face. The use of bioidentical hormones to treat this hormone imbalance can improve the underlying factors to keep your mind sharp.