- Drugs given to menopausal women do not increase risk of developing dementia
- One study found that HRT can reduce the risk of dementia by up to 15 percent in some groups.
- However, some forms of treatment slightly increased the risk of Alzheimer’s.
According to a new study, drugs given to menopausal women do not increase the risk of developing dementia.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) helps relieve symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, night sweats, and mood swings.
In recent years, a number of studies have linked common drugs to the risk of dementia.
But researchers have now debunked the link after analyzing data from hundreds of thousands of British women.
The results showed that women on HRT were less likely to develop dementia overall.
Experts from the universities of Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton also found that estrogen-only treatment reduced the risk of the memory-robbing disorder.
On the other hand, a combined estrogen-progestogen therapy slightly increased the risk of Alzheimer’s – the most common form of dementia.
HRT tablets (pictured) work by replacing the sex hormones that decrease during menopause and improve the symptoms of menopause, which 80 percent of women suffer from.
The graph shows the proportion of hormone therapy prescribed by women from the earliest available records. Only one percent of women were receiving treatment in 1988, rising steadily to reach a peak of 30 percent in 2000 for women aged 50 to 59 then. but later it fell from 2003
This graph shows the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in women who took different forms of hormone therapy: estrogen, a combination of estrogen and progestogen, and tibolone, a drug similar to combined HRT. It showed that women who took estrogen and progestogen or tibolone had a slightly higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s and that the risk increased the longer they took the drug.
Everything you need to know about menopause
Menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating naturally and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
This is a normal part of aging and usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 when levels of a woman’s sex hormone estrogen drop.
Eight out of 10 women will experience menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety, and problems with memory.
Women are advised to see their GP if their symptoms are difficult to manage.
Treatments that doctors may provide include hormone replacement therapy, such as pills, skin patches, and gels that replace estrogen.
HRT relieves most menopausal symptoms and can also prevent bone weakening.
However, women who take HRT for more than a year have a higher risk of breast cancer than women who were never treated.
Its side effects include breast tenderness, headache, nausea and abdominal pain.
Menopause is when a woman stops having periods, so she is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
During this period, which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, estrogen levels drop.
Sex hormones, especially estrogen, protect the brain, so academics have long speculated that falling levels may contribute to developing diseases such as dementia.
HRT – taken by about 17 percent of women over the age of 50 in the UK and 35 percent of women aged 40 to 60 in the US – works by changing this hormone, and has been shown to improve symptoms of menopause. 80% are affected by women.
But studies have been inconsistent on whether HRT — usually given in tablets, gels and patches — increases the risk of developing dementia.
The team of researchers, whose findings were published in british medical journalexamined the risk of developing dementia for women using any HRT treatment commonly prescribed by the NHS.
They used patient data from nearly 120,000 women over 55 diagnosed with dementia between 1998 and 2020.
This was then compared to the records of nearly half a million women who did not have dementia.
In both groups, 14 percent of the women were given HRT treatment.
Overall, no increased risk of developing HRT-associated dementia was observed, regardless of the type determined.
The authors also claimed that the risk of dementia was not affected by how long HRT was taken or the dose of treatment.
The researchers said the study provides the most detailed estimate of risk for individualized treatment.
And writing in the journal, the team claimed the conclusion proposal ‘New, more reliable estimates for doctors and their patients.