Updated: Jan 19
So you are a woman in her 40s or 50s.
Do you ever walk into a room, and find that you cannot remember why?
Do you forget the name of someone you have just been introduced to?
Do you find it harder to retain information, learn new skills, or study a new subject or learn a new language or procedure?
Research from the University of East Anglia found that taking medication during the perimenopause or menopause, like HRT, may help prevent Alzheimer’s, a disease that is more common in women and with the over 65’s. The statistics? The risk of Alzheimer or dementia increases with age and it is estimated that 1 in 14 person over 65 years old and that 1 in every 6 over the age of 80 will contract the disease.
I teach Chair Yoga in nursing homes too, to Alzheimer’s or dementia residents; I can see the evidence there – the female residents outnumber the male residents by far. At first I thought of the statistics: women live longer than men (or at least used to, up to certain generations). By now, I am having second thoughts.
The research of the University of East Anglia found that taking HRT led women to have better memory, cognitive functions and larger brain volume – this appears to be particularly effective when HRT is taken during the perimenopause. The sample was relatively small (under 2000 people over 50 years old) however, the results of the research are encouraging, especially because - at least that at the moment - there is no cure for Alzheimer, so any option on how to prevent it is clearly a positive thing.
It is now accepted amongst the researchers and neuroscientists that menopause reshapes the brain, in that it reduces the grey matter and changes the blood flow, due to the level of oestrogen reducing over time. It is all explained in 10 minutes by Lisa Mosconi - PhD, is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience in Neurology and Radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), and Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at WCM/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital - in her TED talk
It must be added that further research is needed on what type of HRT is most beneficial and a further study to assess the effects of HRT to prevent dementia.
I was never offered HRT and never crossed my mind to raise the question. For some women HRT may not be suitable, due to other conditions. I am not advocating HRT – this is something that each woman needs to consider, research and speak with her GP about. What I simply want to highlight are the consequences of the menopause, which is a natural stage of every woman’s life, on women’s body and how some may also be affected emotionally and mentally.
So if you are experiencing brain fog, poor memory, or finding yourself being more forgetful than usual, ask questions, research and talk to your GP.
I run Menopause Yoga workshops, looking at how yoga can help relieve the menopause symptoms. The Workshops include: a women circle to share experiences and ideas, a yoga practice, a booklet with information and a home practice sheet.
If you would like to come along to one of the Menopause Yoga workshops, email me to
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