Early Menopause Increases the Risk of Dementia

Did you know that early menopause may be related to dementia? Several studies have been carried out on the subject.
Early Menopause Increases the Risk of Dementia

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Experts have always associated the risk of dementia with degenerative or infectious diseases or head trauma. However, nowadays, they also include early menopause 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 menopause, as indicated by a research conducted by a team of researchers from Havana, Cuba, takes place before the age of 40. This may be due to different factors, among which are the following:

  • 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 noted by research published in 2018 in the journal Annals of the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

A woman with hot flashes.
The presence of early menopause has also been associated with an increased risk of related symptomatology.

The Risk of Dementia in Menopause

So, what’s the relationship between early menopause and the risk of dementia? Several studies such as the one published in 2018 in the journal PLOS ONE point out that this risk lies in the reduction in estrogen production. Because of this, estrogen receptors in the brain 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. In this case, we’ll stick to the risk of dementia.

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. They’re usually taken in the form of contraceptive pills and will improve the symptomatology.

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.

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.

Has anyone around you had early menopause and can you relate it to the risk of dementia? We hope this article has been helpful and has allowed you to discover that there are ways to prevent this type of degenerative disease. Early menopause may not always lead to dementia, but the risk is there.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.