Menopause symptoms can wreak havoc on midlife women’s quality of life. Now a new study suggests that if some of these symptoms are severe, it can affect a woman’s cognitive performance.
The study, published in the journal Menopause, involved more than 400 women and is different because it compared the severity of certain menopause symptoms –especially depression and sexual dysfunction–with a woman’s cognitive performance. The investigators studied orientation, registration, attention, recall, and language as well as visuospatial skills.
In addition, the researchers considered the severity of some of the most common menopause symptoms–sexual dysfunction, hot flashes, depression and anxiety. The researchers found that when certain menopause symptoms are severe, it had a major impact on a woman’s cognition.
This study helps explain findings in the newly published book Working Through Menopause: The Impact on Women, Businesses and The Bottom Line.
It’s easy to understand why 50% of women who are experiencing menopause symptoms say that their menopause symptoms are affecting their work. It’s one of the reasons I believe that the workplace should support the business woman and offer education and menopause support as part of their occupational wellness programs.
This study also highlights why so many women worry that they are experiencing dementia as they travel into and through menopause. That is particularly true when their symptoms include attention, recall, and language and visuospatial skills.
The good news is that it isn’t dementia; it is just some of the perimenopause symptoms and menopause symptoms having a short term negative impact. For nearly all, these symptoms and the cognitive issues that come with them will pass.