Memory-loss cause #5: Pregnancy or menopause
Why it happens: Changing estrogen levels at key points in a woman's reproductive life can affect other brain chemicals estrogen interacts with. Hence, the so-called "fuzzy brain" of pregnancy and the "brain drain" of perimenopause. A 2010 study at the University of Bradford in England found that maternal memory problems are worst from the second trimester through three months postpartum, though not all women are affected.
What's more, these life passages are also times when women tend to be distracted by other intense symptoms (from excitement and nausea in pregnancy to menopausal hot flashes and the multitasking of being a sandwich-generation adult). Distraction adds to forgetfulness because information is not attended to, and therefore never stored.
What else to look for:
- Are you feeling blue? Researchers believe that depression coinciding with pregnancy or menopause may also have a role in memory problems.