Memory Loss in Your 40s

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Women in their forties can experience multiple changes, which makes memory loss even more likely.

Although most people think of memory loss as something that happens only after turning 60, many women experience some form of memory loss in their forties. While this can be frustrating and even worrying, it is a common phenomenon and one that can be managed. Knowing about the potential causes of memory problems at 40 can help to find different ways to manage, or possibly even solve the problem.

What Causes Memory Loss at 40?

There are several possible causes of memory loss for women in their forties. Sometimes, women even experience multiple causes, which makes memory loss even more likely. The following are some of the most common culprits that affect women's memory.

Hormonal imbalance

Studies have shown that menopause can actually affect how the brain functions, and one of the most common effects experienced by women is a change in memory. This is because estrogen levels drop, and estrogen plays an important role in the formation of cells that help with memory.

Sleeping problems

Sleep is crucial for the brain, and it is thought to be an important part of the process during which the brain converts information learned during the day into long-term memories. Without enough sleep, the brain may lose the information before it is encoded in a memory to keep.


Some medications may actually result in brain fogginess or confusion, which makes it much more difficult to remember things clearly. Prescribed drugs like barbiturates and sedatives are likely to cause these problems. Abusing alcohol and illegal drugs can also result in memory problems.

Medical conditions

Ranging from head trauma to infections to nutritional deficiencies, several medical issues may affect memory. A doctor should be consulted in cases where one of these causes is suspected. Dementia is another possibility, as early-onset dementia may develop as early as 40, but it is very uncommon and would likely be an inherited condition.


As the body ages, the brain changes and manages memories differently. Although changes are likely to be subtle in women as young as 40, they may still experience memory lapses related to getting older.

How Can Memory Loss Be Managed?

Managing memory loss can often be accomplished with the right lifestyle changes. For memory loss not caused by medical conditions, it can be helpful to:

  • Take advantage of schedules and planners to remind yourself of important events.
  • Ensure you get enough sleep each night (i,e; seven to eight hours)
  • Discover ways to reduce stress.
  • Learn new skills.

Additionally, there may be herbal supplements available to help improve your memory or to ameliorate the condition causing your memory problems, such as herbal treatments to restore hormonal balance during the menopause transition. If memory loss is caused by a medical problem, a doctor will be able to advise a treatment.

Memory loss is difficult to cope with, but it can be made easier once its causes are understood to discover the right management techniques. To learn more, read all about the different types of memory loss.

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