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Not Having Children and Late Menopause Decrease Memory Loss

By June 24, 2003

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I found it in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, which was sitting in my doctor's office. It's on the web... The article was called "Nulliparity and Late Menopause are Associated with Decreased Cognitive Decline." I never saw it publicized in the mainstream press (maybe because no one knows what nulliparity means). What these scientists claim is that women who have children are protected from memory loss. They also said the same thing about women who go through menopause late in life. They say it has something to do with estrogen, but I am confused on this point. What do people think of this? Join this discussion
January 22, 2008 at 2:28 am
(1) vlk samotar says:

Title says NOT having children DECREASES memory loss; Body says HAVING children PROTECTS memory. Title appears to be correct, body in error. Children dull your brainpower. ;)

July 14, 2008 at 1:18 pm
(2) Karen says:

What I saw when I read (and reread and studied and reread it again–something I never had to do in the past and is totally disturbing)the abstract was this: The MORE estrogen you were exposed to over the course of your lifetime either due to late menopause or no children, the less bonkers you get. I saw another abstract suggesting this holds true from childhood on. (ie: 8, 12 yrs.) My memory has never been great, but now it’s abysmal. I’m 41. I have 3 kids. Early peri. has been here for 3-4 yrs. now. The theory works for me.

December 11, 2008 at 4:52 pm
(3) Veronica says:

I’m not doctor, but when I had my kids I noticed right away a change in my brain power. I was removed from my own self to a large degree, with the main portion of my mind on my child/ren. Initially, the child had 100% of my attention. Gradually, that decreased. But, consider that most women with children are going through menopause during the teen years ~ which is enough to make anyone go bonkers (man or woman). It is a time when we become more and more worried about our budding adults because they are experiencing life on their own for the first time, and we’re in the process of setting them free. It’s a scary time, and our minds once again return to their well being, often 100% of the time ~ will they live through this? Will they drink and drive? Will she get pregnant?

So to make a blanket statement that hormones are affecting a mom differently than a women with no children, which then affects the brain, is a bit sketchy to my way of thinking. A mom and a childless woman have completely different concerns, a completely different focus … there is absolutely no comparison in my view.

August 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm
(4) Dina says:

I have to agree with Veronica. I am a women who never bore a child, but am a mother through adoption and my memory is aweful too. With a teen ager to worry about and all the crazy anxiety and mood swings from the perimenopause stage I have trouble keeping up with even the simplist things. However, like Veronica said women with no children at this stage may fair better if they have less people to guide and care for and can focus more on their own needs.

November 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm
(5) Nikki says:

Hey Im 21 and I have all the symptoms of perimenopause. well except the hot falshes(i think). But anyway I dont know what to do should I consult a physician. The is odd to me because I’m young and dont have anyh children can you help me out. you can e-mail me at Top_notchhottie@yahoo.com

September 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm
(6) Linda says:

I will be 56 in a few weeks and since I have only gone a maximum of 5 months without a period so far, I am technically not in menopause. I guess this qualifies me as “late menopause”. I don’t think I have experienced any memory loss. In fact, I learned a second language in my 30′s, a 3rd in my 40′s, and am working on another one now. Memory required!! So, I guess the article is right on! (I have 3 grown kids.)

December 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm
(7) Carlie says:

Hi, I’m a 36 yr old with 3 boy’s 14,6 & 3. I noticed after having an ectopic pregnancy & having lost an ovary that things started to slowly change with my body. Mostly short term memory loss & finding it difficult to add/subtract also my spelling has become terrible & at times I struggle for words during conversation eg: Asking my son “Can you please move that….” wanting to say chair but unable to recall the word for what it is in that moment but a few moments later knowing it again.It’s been extremely frustrating.18 months after the ectopic pregnancy I fell pregnant with our last child who is now 3.Over the past 3 years as much as I’m happy I can feel depression in short bouts that tends to be rather sever & have noticed that my skin has become so dry it peels like I’ve had really bad sunburn across the back of my neck,shoulder blades & behind my ears. I’ve seen doctors & spent so much money it’s not funny! Skin scrape tests have been done which came back normal. I asked for hormone tests to be done these also normal.My sex drive has always been very high & yet now it’s almost none existant.Sometimes I just feel like crying for absolutely no reason then I’m over it in no time at all. I also have found that I don’t just get hot all of a sudden like some women describe but find that I just seem to not feel like my normal self, either I feel very hot or very cold no in between. It was a recent discovery to me that perimenopause even existed & I believe what I’ve been experiencing may be the early signs of menopause. Any information would be appreciated as I’ve seen numerous Doctors who say nothing is wrong & send me on my way or prescribe expensive creams that don’t help & I’m still left to deal with the overall problem.

January 17, 2011 at 3:06 am
(8) Beth says:

I am a mom of a teenager and in the perimenopause stage. It’s nice to know that what I am going through is normal. I feel scatterbrained lately, between worrying about my teen becoming and adult and getting ready for college, along with physical changes and concentration issues I seem to be going through. Top that off with being a single parent trying to make ends meet.

October 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm
(9) Adia Jilek says:

This is utter foolishness! I have six children, and we homeschool. I have to admit that this isn’t easy ( because of sleepless nights, constant concern and worry and the like), but I can assure you that I behave more womanly than I did without my beautiful bunch, memory and all. Before I was a homeschooling mother I was a single parent in the Army. Life isn’t so cut and dry where you make being exactly what God made you to be… i.e. a woman, a health risk. FOOLISHNESS!

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