Do you remember what you had for dinner last night? In this day and age, we can get so busy we might not remember what we ate yesterday. Women and men experience a natural decline in hormones past the age of 35, and this change can come with a decline in memory and concentration as well. Details that used to be easy to recall such as names, dates, and the location of keys can become lost in day-to-day living and cause stress. Add to the equation the sheer number of things we have to keep track of in our busy lives, and memory becomes a real challenge. These days, people even younger than 35 can experience memory issues and associated hormone imbalances. Finding which hormones are out of balance and treating the underlying roots of memory issues can help reduce stress and simplify daily living.

Hormones are in circulation not only throughout the body, but also in the brain. In fact, research has shown that common hormones including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA play a big part in not only mood regulation, but also memory and concentration. If you’re experiencing memory issues, it may be a sign that certain hormones are either high, low, fluctuating, or out of balance with each other. Visiting a doctor who specializes in natural hormone balancing and adrenal health can help strengthen your ability to remember.

One factor that will be important to explore is the level of stress you’re going through. Stress directly affects how hormones function in the body, and undoubtedly when stress is unaddressed or out of control, it will be harder to remember things. It can help to vocalize what the sources of stress are, and even though you can’t make stress disappear, starting an adrenal support therapy that includes adaptogenic herbs—those that help the body adapt to stress better—can help. These herbs include Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and Holy Basil. Regular movement, relaxation, and breathing can also mediate the effects of stress on the body.

Hormone testing will help you and your doctor identify which hormones are out of balance to further support healthy memory. For example, many women with low estrogen or estrogen dominance (where estrogen doesn’t have enough progesterone to balance it) experience memory issues. They may have trouble learning or remembering new things during peri-menopause or post-menopause. Men can have a similar decline in memory stemming from low testosterone. Therapies such as bioidentical hormone replacement, botanical formulas, lifestyle modifications, and homeopathy can help each of these hormones support memory again.

What about the burden we all sometimes place on our brains to “do it all?” Today, this important factor can’t be discounted. Our minds help us do work and process emotions on a daily basis, but at times we require ourselves to remember nitty gritty details that leave the brain tired and overexerted. We have to ask ourselves whether it’s in fact important to recall so many details, even beyond what is required for practical day-to-day functioning. If you feel like details are getting the best of your days, take a step back and do some spring cleaning of your mind. Sort through the details and discover which ones can be prioritized ahead of others.

By taking a comprehensive approach consisting of hormone balance, adrenal support, and placing more realistic expectations on the mind, memory can get stronger. Memory issues can cause frustration and stress, which further challenges the memory, but try and be patient and treat the symptom just like any other health complaint (such as digestive upset or insomnia). Finding the right treatment is key, and remember to believe that you can find improvement.