Ninety-five percent of women between the ages of 45-55 years old will experience menopause. Hormone therapy is often prescribed to increase estrogen levels in the body. This is an effective way to manage menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood swings. Past studies have indicated that women who take hormone replacement therapy to curb the systems of menopause would, over time, show a decline in cognitive health. However, a research performed by the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) indicates that not only was cognition function not affected but many women experienced less anxiety and depressive symptoms while in menopause.
Women’s Health Study found that women over the age of 65 were showing cognitive decline when taking hormone therapy. KEEPS goal was to determine if women were more successful with treatment when taken at an earlier age and for a shorter duration. The study consisted of participants, beginning at age 50 and around the time of their last menstrual period. The women were administered oral estrogen-plus-progesterone or an estradiol patch-plus- progesterone and carefully studied for close to three years. KEEPS noted those postmenopausal women, who had not had hysterectomy, highly benefited from progesterone being cycled in with estrogen and estradiol.
All of the women in the study were given cognitive baseline testing to ensure they were free of dementia, memory loss or depression. They were all tested four more times throughout the study. Overall, of the 662 participants who entered the study at close to the age of 50, there were no signs of cognitive decline with regards to memory, verbal or reasoning skills.
Their research also indicated that those women taking oral estrogen-plus progesterone noted a higher percentage of increased mood and positive outlook than those women taking the estradiol patch-plus progesterone or a placebo. The estrogen group reported feeling less anxious or tense and noted a reduction in night sweats and hot flashes.
Researchers point out that their findings, regarding women beginning hormone therapy well into age fifty, has not been tracked for a significant length of time to determine a decline in cognitive function. Their findings do suggest that the risks associated with hormone therapy decrease significantly when taken earlier in age and for less time and do reveal a reduction in the negative symptoms of menopause. KEEPS findings indicate that the use of hormone therapy for menopause has many significant benefits for women with little to no risk involved.