Lately I’ve been forgetting everything from coworkers’ names to conversations my husband swears we’ve had. What’s wrong with me?

Probably nothing. You’re experiencing a common symptom of menopause. During perimenopause, estrogen and progesterone stop their dependable pattern of rising and falling at certain points during the menstrual cycle. Instead, they go rogue, affecting the hippocampus, which plays a big role in memory. Research shows this effect is real, and not “all in your head.”

Ways to overcome forgetfulness

Happily, research also shows that memory issues are temporary in most women, suggesting that the body adjusts to lower levels of estrogen. In the meantime, use those work-arounds that you’ve learned over the years: Take notes. Make lists. Always leave the car keys in the same place. And keep exercising! According to researchers at the University of British Columbia (and many others), aerobic exercise “appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.”

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