Early menopause may be linked to dementia, study finds

Women who go through menopause before the age of 40 have a 35% risk of developing dementia in the future, a preliminary study shows. Women who went through menopause before age 45 are 1.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia before age 65.


Early menopause occurs when the the ovaries stop producing hormones and the menstrual cycle ends at age 40, when usually the menopause occurs at age 52, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services for women’s health.


early menopause occurs in certain situations, such as removal of the ovaries or uterus.

This kind of surgeries cause “faster biological aging of all tissues of the human body, including premature aging of organs and their functioning”, says Lloyd-Jones professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics at the University of Chicago.

“When a woman enters early menopause, it’s a red alert,” he warns. “It could be related to genetic, environmental or underlying health conditions that require attention.

The factors of early menopause can be:

  • family history;
  • autoimmune disorders;
  • HIV;
  • pelvic chemotherapy or radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer;
  • the tobacco;


The study, which has not yet been published but will be presented this week, looked at data from more than 153,000 women.

“The scope and breadth of the data is significant and impressive, but does not give us the details we need to understand the full implications of the study. said Professor Lloyd-Jones.

The study takes into account age, race, weight, level of education and income, tobacco or alcohol consumption, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and physical activity.

She concluded that women who enter menopause between the ages of 40 and 45 were 1.3 times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia at age 65.

The role of estrogen

The onset of menopause indicates that estrogen levels drop, which may be one of the reasons for the results of this study, says research author Wenting Hao.

“We know that long-term lack of estrogen increases oxidative stress, which may increase brain aging and cause cognitive dementia.

Oxidative stress occurs when The body’s antioxidant defenses cannot cope with an overabundance of radicals or unstable atoms that can damage cells.

These harmful substances occur naturally in the body as a byproduct of cellular metabolism, but the levels can be increased by exposure to smoke, environmental toxins, pesticides, dyes, and air pollution.

Women who go through menopause before age 45 have several ways may reduce the risk of cognitive decline, Hao said:

“This includes routine exercise, participation in recreational and educational activities, not smoking or drinking alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight.”

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