I have been reading a book about the female brain titled “The XX Brain: The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease”.
This book gives a great review on new wisdom on how the female brain works.
One of the reasons I want to do this Note today is that bio-identical hormone replacement is at the heart of it.
It turns out that women’s brains aren’t the same as men’s from the minute you are born. Women are just wired differently because the DNA is different.
Some parts work better and are more interconnected. Because they’re brains are more interconnected, women multi-task better than men do. Another example is women have better verbal memory than men do.
Most importantly for you and this Note is that women’s brains age differently than men’s brains.
I want to repeat that.
Women’s brains age differently than men’s brains. And it’s because of hormones.
Menopause plays a key role in this.
Before we dive deeper into that, lets go over a few key differences between men and women in terms of what they’re susceptible to.
Women are more prone to:
- Anxiety and depression (really since puberty)
- Autoimmune disorders like Multiple Sclerosis
- Headaches and migraines
- Brain tumors
- To die of a Stroke when they have a Stroke
- And they’re much more likely get Alzheimer’s Disease. Almost 4 to 1 over men.
As you may know, both my mother and grandmother died of Alzheimer’s Disease despite not having the bad genetics for it.
A Woman’s Brain and Hormones
As mentioned in the book, there are 3 big bumps in the road that matter for women.
During puberty there is an explosion of hormonal power as your brain is becoming an adult brain.
During pregnancy there is a surge of hormones which leads to a crash after the baby is born. This is one reason why there is a lot of postpartum depression. This is one of the most severe types of depression by the way.
And of course during menopause there is a decline in all the female hormones, which is what I deal with a lot in my practice.
Brain imaging studies (Pet Scans) is how they found all of this out. For example, it turns out that after a woman has a baby her brain shrinks.
This is probably a good thing because it’s adaptive. The new mom is like I don’t have time for the things I used to, because I have to be able to focus on this baby.
But what about menopause?
Women who are going through menopause show progressive reduced brain energy levels.
That can be related to the emergence of amyloid plaques. This is Alzheimer’s plaque that you just don’t see in men at the same age.
Are declining brain energy levels bad? Well, it’s often a red flag for Alzheimer’s.
The thing about women’s hormones is that we really need to test them before menopause, during menopause, and afterwards.
As I always say, as you age your hormones decline. And as your hormones decline you decline in every way. It’s like nature saying you’re done reproducing, now it’s time to die.
The problem as you know is that we’re living a long time!
Are you having hot flashes? Vaginal dryness? When did you go through menopause? What’s your libido like?
Answer these questions and make sure you’re getting your hormones tested. It’s important that you know your numbers.
For women, you need to know your estrogen levels (the three main types of estrogen), progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA.
And remember, these levels don’t drop off all at once.
Bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT) used to be controversial. Now it may be one of the first things we look at.
Don’t be scared of hormones and BHRT.
Be scared of not checking your hormones.
We all want to age well. And the main part of your body that you want to age well is your brain. This relationship between a woman’s hormones and their brain is fascinating, and should cause women to think about their hormones differently.