Women’s Brains Are Shown Protected With Estrogen Prior To Menopause

Estrogen is the important hormone that protects women from many health problems. It protects the women from memory problems, which can lead to dementia. Estrogen is important in developing sexual features in women such as menstrual cycle and breast development.

The levels of estrogen remain constant up to 25 years, but after that it starts decreasing. The reason behind the decrease in estrogen levels is the number of matured ovules in the ovary decrease as women get older. The body produces other two hormones known as ovule stimulating hormone (OSH) and luetinisante hormone (LH).

Due to decrease in estrogen levels and increase in FSH and LH, symptoms such as night sweats or hot flashes occur. At menopause, ovaries stop producing estrogen. The other sources in the body continue to produce estrogen, but in smaller quantities.

In the largest study of its kind, Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that women who had one or both ovaries removed before menopause faced an increased long-term risk of cognitive impairment or dementia, compared to women who retained their ovaries.However, women who had both their ovaries removed but were treated with estrogen until at least age 50 did not have any increased risk. The study, which includes follow-up for more that 30 years and interviews with nearly 3,000 women, appears in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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Estrogen and its effect on brain:

Estrogen is vital for maintaining normal brain function and nerve cell development. Estrogen is present in several areas of the brain including those involved in memory. Estrogen raise levels of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters include acetylcholine, serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine.

Another important effect of estrogen is its influence on blood supply. The brain depends completely on blood flow to function. Estrogen also influences cerebral blood supply by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent at the blood vessel wall, protecting it from damage by cytokines and free radicals.

When women reach menopause, estrogen levels decrease and there is a decline in cognitive function. The effect of decrease in estrogen levels on the brain is slowdown in the speed of brain processing. With estrogen therapy, brain processing speed and postural stability are significantly improved.

Estrogen is used to treat prostate and breast cancer, osteoporosis, and to ease from the symptoms of menopause. Estrogen is beneficial for healthy bones.

Estrogen decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s, colon cancer and diabetes. It decreases the platelet aggregation and low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

When estrogen and progesterone are taken together, the treatment is called hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT treatment improves the levels of estrogen for the development and maintenance of breasts and female sex organs. It also improves the brain function and decrease the risk of memory problems in women.