Estrogen, a hormone that belongs to the sex hormone group, plays a vital role in regulating the menstrual cycle and is essential for the development and reproductive health of women. This hormone not only influences gender characteristics and sexual behavior but also has broader effects on the body. For instance, estrogen protects against cardiovascular diseases, bone fragility, and contributes to the temperature regulation of the brain.
When women enter menopause and their estrogen production decreases, several changes occur in their bodies. The risk of cardiovascular diseases and bone fractures increases, temperature regulation fluctuates, sleep deteriorates, and mood swings and memory falter. Researchers are currently studying the roles of estrogen in various physiological and psychological aspects of women’s health.
Recent research from University College London suggests that estrogen may have a protective role in the development of memory disorders, potentially reducing the risk of dementia. The findings are based on data obtained from the British Biobank, which includes information on fertile years, hormone replacement therapy, surgeries related to reproductive health, among other factors.
Despite this potential benefit of estrogen on brain health, there is no consensus on whether hormone replacement therapy can prevent dementia. Confounding variables such as age at menopause or lifestyle factors can complicate large-scale studies.
Moreover, recent studies have shown that while estrogen has been protective against vascular dementia, its impact on Alzheimer’s disease remains inconclusive. This highlights how complex estrogen’s role in brain health is and underscores the need for individualized risk assessments for hormone therapy.
While there are potential benefits associated with estrogen therapy for women during menopause such as improved cardiovascular function and reduced bone density loss,