Study: Hormone Replacement Therapy Beneficial to Women's Memory

For women, menopause is often a very challenging and trying time. During menopause or perimenopause (the months or years leading up to menopause) women can experience a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irregular periods, mood changes, and trouble sleeping. At Key T Wellness in Dickinson, we utilize Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help alleviate these uncomfortable symptoms.

HRT Protects Working Memory in Women

Although much has been made about HRT being an effective form of treatment for menopausal symptoms, a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that HRT can also be beneficial in protecting a woman’s working memory. Working memory is what allows the brain to store information for immediate processing, such as when you make a mental list of the errands you need to run for the day. Many studies have documented that stress can impede working memory.

The study took place at the University of Southern California where researchers found that women taking estrogen therapy produced less of the stress hormone cortisol when exposed to a stressful situation compared to those taking a placebo. In addition, women taking HRT also performed better on tests focused on working memory under stress compared to women taking a placebo.

To measure the effect of HRT on working memory under stress, 42 women with an average age of 66 were recruited for the study. Half of these postmenopausal women had been on estrogen therapy for approximately 5 years, while the other half had only received a placebo.

In order to create a stressful situation, participants were asked to place their hand in ice water for 3 minutes. They were also asked to place their hand in warm water for the same amount of time as a control condition. The women were then given a "sentence span task," in which they were each given a series of sentences and then asked whether each sentence made sense. They also were asked to recall the last word of each sentence. Before and after each visit, the researchers collected saliva to measure the women's levels of cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone.

All women performed equally well on the sentence span task after the warm water condition. However, during the ice water situation, women taking the placebo experienced a spike in cortisol levels and had more difficulties with the “sentence span task”, thus demonstrating a decrease in working memory function.

By contrast, women receiving estrogen therapy had produced less cortisol and showed no decrease in working memory function. These findings suggest that HRT not only helps protect short-term working memory from the effects of stress, but helps in the reduction of stress levels as well.

Schedule Your HRT Consultation at Key T Wellness

Key T Wellness is committed to helping our patients live healthy and fulfilling lives. Although symptoms associated with menopause can be debilitating, Bioidentical HRT from our Dickinson office can often resolve these issues and either reduce or even eliminate these symptoms. The fact that it has been discovered HRT also helps protect a woman’s working memory is a tremendous added benefit.

Aging is a natural part of life, however, it does not have to mean a reduction in quality of life. So contact our office today to schedule an HRT consultation. We look forward to getting you on your way to living well and unlocking your true potential.


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