Understanding women's experience of memory over the menopausal transition: subjective and objective memory in pre-, peri-, and postmenopausal women Academic Article uri icon


  • Many women complain of forgetfulness during the menopausal transition. This study aimed to examine women's subjective perception of memory and their objective memory performance across the menopausal transition.One hundred thirty women, aged 40 to 60 years were recruited from outpatient Menopause and Gynaecological clinics at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne. Women were divided into menopausal stage groups according to the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop criteria based on menstrual patterns. All women completed self-report measures of depressive, anxiety, vasomotor, and sleep symptoms; attitude to menopause; and various aspects of memory, including memory contentment, frequency of forgetting, sense of control over memory, and use of memory strategies. Women also completed a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation assessing memory and executive function.Comprehensive neuropsychological assessment showed no difference between premenopausal (n = 36), perimenopausal (n = 54), and postmenopausal (n = 40) groups in performance on memory and executive tasks. Perimenopausal women, however, reported significantly more frequent forgetting (η = 0.09, P < 0.01) and less contentment with their memory (η = 0.08, P < 0.01) than pre- and postmenopausal women.Although no impairment was observed in neuropsychological performance, when compared with pre- and postmenopausal women, perimenopausal women were more likely to be dissatisfied with their memory. During the menopausal transition women with a more negative attitude to menopause and more intense depressive, anxiety, vasomotor, and sleep symptoms are more vulnerable to feeling less content with their memory.

publication date

  • 2016