Early Menopause Increases the Risk of Dementia

July 31, 2019
Did you know that early menopause may be related to dementia? In this article discover why and the possible ways to prevent it.

The risk of dementia has always been associated with degenerative or infectious diseases or head trauma. However, nowadays, early menopause is also included in this group.

Many women fear the onset of menopause. This is not only because it’s the end of their reproductive life, but due to the consequences that this new stage entails, such as the risk of osteoporosis.

Normally, this stage should start at around age 45. However, in some cases, it starts earlier.

Early or Premature Menopause

Early or premature menopause occurs before age 40. This may be due to different factors such as:

  • Family history. If someone in your family has experienced early menopause, the chances of it also happening to you are much higher.
  • Cancer treatments. Undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer, especially in the pelvic area, can cause early menopause.
  • Autoimmune diseases. Thyroid conditions are associated with early menopause.

When menopause occurs, the body’s estrogen levels decrease. This causes the symptoms typical of this stage, such as bone problems. However, women can also suffer from high blood pressure and other problems, as one article recently pointed out.

A woman with hot flashes.

The Risk of Dementia in Menopause

So, what’s the relationship between early menopause and the risk of dementia?

Several studies suggest that the risk lies in reduced estrogen levels. Due to this, the brain’s estrogen receptors disappear and the risk of dementia increases.

Decreased estrogen levels are responsible for all the symptoms associated with menopause and the underlying problems. For this reason, health professionals are studying ways to prevent this from happening.

Discover: Diet for Menopause: Nutrients that Shouldn’t Be Left Out

Taking Estrogen

Researchers who are interested in this problem that affects women who go into early menopause believe that taking estrogen could prove helpful. This is better known as “hormone replacement therapy.”

This type of therapy is used to not only prevent all the uncomfortable symptoms associated with this stage of life, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness but also to prevent the risk of dementia. Estrogen is usually taken in the form of birth control pills, which improve the symptoms and prevent the risk of dementia.

However, your doctor should determine whether this is an appropriate treatment for you and how you should take it.

A woman taking birth control pills.

Taking estrogen orally can reduce the symptoms associated with the onset of early menopause.

The Risk of Dementia

The best part of starting this hormone replacement therapy for early menopause is that it may also reduce the risk of a disease that’s difficult to diagnose early enough to stop it.

In fact, dementia is a disease that evolves continuously. This means it’s a degenerative problem that will try to take its course. However, proper treatment can help slow down this process and thus improve patients’ quality of life.

Read: Maca Root for Menopause Symptoms

The Vulnerable Brain

As you’ve seen, the brain is extremely vulnerable. Menopause, a condition that most people believe only causes hot flashes and emotional changes, actually involves many more changes.

Your body and health change when you go into menopause. Your bones weaken and you also run an increased risk of dementia, especially if you go into early menopause. Therefore, it’s important to put yourself in the hands of a trusted doctor and talk to them about the possibility of hormone replacement therapy. It can signify a before and after in this new stage.

Conclusion

We hope this article helped you understand that there are ways to prevent this type of degenerative disease. Although early menopause doesn’t always lead to dementia, it does increase the risk.

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  • Pérez Martínez, Víctor T.. (2006). Demencias: su enfoque diagnóstico. Revista Cubana de Medicina General Integral, 22(4) Recuperado en 15 de abril de 2019, de http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0864-21252006000400010&lng=es&tlng=es.
  • Vallejo Maldonado, Soledad. (2018). Terapia hormonal de la menopausia, ¿por qué prescribirla?. Revista Peruana de Ginecología y Obstetricia, 64(1), 51-59. Recuperado en 15 de abril de 2019, de http://www.scielo.org.pe/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2304-51322018000100008&lng=es&tlng=es.