A new study has revealed women who go through the menopause later than the average woman, have a much lower risk of developing dementia.
Although the difference in memory is fairly small, the results do still show the menopause could play a key role in lowering the risk of dementia. More in-depth research will need to be carried out to determine the full link between the menopause and memory, but these initial findings are certainly interesting.
Here, we’ll look at what the study found, along with key things to look out for to detect whether or not you’re on the verge of the menopause.
Understanding the menopause study
The new study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University College London. It looked into the memory of 1315 British women between the ages of 43-69. There were 846 women involved in the study who went through the menopause naturally, while the others had gone through the menopause after surgery.
The team showed the women a list of 15 common words, with one being shown every second. Their job was to remember these words and then write down as many as they could remember. They repeated this test three times.
What it found, was the 846 women who had experienced natural menopause, had different results depending upon age. It revealed that for each year later that the menopause started, women could remember an average of 0.09 additional words.
Can the results be trusted?
There are a few things to keep in mind with this study. First and foremost, the differences in the results were really small. It worked out for every decade the menopause is delayed, women can remember just one extra word. So, the link between the menopause and dementia is extremely small.
On the one hand, it does provide a potential reason why dementia seems to affect more women than it does men. The theory is that oestrogen could be behind a good memory. However, the study couldn’t suggest that women who took HRT to replace Oestrogen also had a better memory. Therefore, it doesn’t appear that the hormone does link to dementia.
How to detect if you’re on the verge of the menopause
The menopause can lead to numerous health issues, especially if you go through early menopause. Therefore, it’s understandable you may want to be aware of the signs. The perimenopause signs develop months, and sometimes years before you actually experience menopause.
Though the symptoms vary between women, the most common to look out for include:
- Mood swings
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Low libido
Irregular periods tend to be the very first sign. You’ll notice they start becoming less predictable, the symptoms could completely change, and you’ll also start to miss them. Mood swings are also common. Similar to those you get with PMS, mood swings associated with the menopause can be a lot more severe.
These are just some of the common menopause symptoms. However, each can also be an indicator of other potential health issues. Therefore, it’s important to seek a proper diagnosis to determine the true cause of your symptoms. A menopause check which includes scans, such as a gynaecology scan, can help you to discover whether or not impeding menopause is the likely cause of your menstrual issues.