Women do not suffer cognitive loss when taking hormone replacement therapy to treat symptoms of menopause, a new study finds.
Researchers tested the treatment for six months in early postmenopausal women between the ages of 49 and 55 who had never used HRT E2D—a combination of hormones estradiol and drospirenone. The examined HRT’s effects on memory, language and concentration.
The treatment resulted in significant improvement in menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, and sexual function, and it lowered blood pressure and weight in comparison to those who were treated with an identical placebo.
The women underwent cognitive assessment and were asked to perform mental tasks during a brain-imaging (MRI) scan. The researchers found no effect on the cognitive performance of early postmenopausal women.
Professor Susan Davis, director of the Women’s Health Research Program in the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, says there had long been debate about the safety of hormone replacement therapies and the potential adverse effects on cognitive function in women.
Davis says memory and mood complaints were frequent in women after menopause due to oestrogen deficiency, including a lack of clarity of thought and memory or word-finding difficulties.
“These findings are reassuring for women,” Davis says.
“We report, for the first time, that drospirenone combined with estradiol has no overall effect on the cognitive performance of postmenopausal women examined over a 26-week period.
“Although hormone replacement therapy is no quick fix to the challenge of menopause, it does show that the E2D treatment can be useful in the overall management of menopause, and without adversely effecting cognitive ability.”
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