Early Menopause Linked to Mental Decline

By Courtney Flannery 2014-05-14 08:32:08
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Like most people, I worry about growing older and losing my healthy self. I know for sure that right now I take for granted my ability to get around easily, work out, and stay up all night watching TV show marathons on Netflix without any weird side effects. I am especially afraid, as I age, of losing my mental fitness too. Some new findings suggest that women should be especially aware of their body changes and how they could affect their brain stamina as they age.

According to WebMD, a recent study suggests that early menopause can be linked to mental decline later in life. Most women begin seeing symptoms of menopause around age 50, but some women can start as early as 41 or even younger. These ladies are likely to perform about 40% lower on visual and memory tests than those women who started at an older age. Additionally, they are 35% more likely to do poorly with tasks that require hand eye coordination and mental acuity in general. The study definitely is a little shocking, as I never thought about how hormone changes might affect the brain.

The study questioned 4,800 women, with 8% of these participants suffering from premature menopause. The surveyed women were given mental tests at the start of the study, then two, four and seven years later. While going into menopause young is pretty rare according to the findings, it definitely encourages me to keep an eye on my body and mind as I creep closer to my 30s and well into the future, too. Early menopause can be caused by genetics, health conditions or ovary problems.

The good news is that while the findings suggest a decline in mental fitness, it does not show much of a link to dementia in the participants. There is even some good evidence that hormone therapy as soon as the symptoms start to develop can help keep visual memory from declining. However, hormone therapy can have a ton of nasty side effects that are not pleasant to deal with, and hormones may cause problems with or not help verbal memory. However, the doctors who organized the study are optimistic about learning more about hormone therapy and ways to make it beneficial.

So if you're a girl like me, be sure to always talk to your doctor about anything going on with your body, as awkward as it can be sometimes. Knowing what's up with your physical self can help you take care of your mental self a little better. Plus, it's their job to hear about gross stuff. If you're a guy, I don't care if the idea of menopause freaks you out, tell the ladies in your life to take care of themselves. And give your girls an extra tight hug tonight.
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