TAKING HRT can help prevent your brain from shrinking as you age, a study shows.
Being exposed to more oestrogen helps prevent memory decline over time, Cardiff University researchers found.
Levels of the hormone drop in the body during menopause, seeing many women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate symptoms.
The research showed HRT was linked to a larger region of the brain that is responsible for memory.
Dr Jessica Steventon said: “A greater exposure to reproductive hormones over a lifetime is associated with slightly larger medial temporal lobe volumes and better memory performance.
“HRT did not appear to have detrimental effects on cognitive health and brain structure and had a small beneficial effect on brain volume when used over a longer period.”
Around 15 per cent women aged 45 to 64 in England are currently prescribed HRT for symptoms of the menopause.
These include changes to periods, hot flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, aching muscles and joints and brain fog.
The latest research, published in the Elsevier journal Psych neuroendocrinology, looked at how the loss of oestrogen affects brain function.
Researchers analysed brain MRI scans of 10,924 British women aged 45 to 80 to see how hormone levels and HRT affected the size of a region of their brains linked to memory.
They also tested them with memory tasks.
Women who had menopause later had higher memory scores than those who started the change earlier in life.
Taking HRT for longer also had a small benefit to the size of the Para hippocampal region of the brain.
The study comes during Menopause Awareness Month, which aims to spread the word about challenges posed by “the change”.
The price of HRT was brought down to £18.70 for an annual pass April in a victory for The Sun’s Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign.
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