Menopause, Estrogen and Your Memory

Estradiol after menopause may not affect women's memory, thinking abilities

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) After menopause, taking estrogen may not affect women's memory and thinking abilities, a new study found.

This study is one of the first large, long-term studies to examine how estradiol (a type of estrogen) affects a woman's mental abilities (memory and thinking) after going through menopause.

Some researchers have, in the past, believed that taking estradiol shortly after menopause might boost women's mental abilities. But, the same effect was not thought to be true if women started taking estradiol long after menopause. This theory became known as the timing hypothesis.

This study looked at 567 healthy women between 41 and 84 years old. The results of this study, however, suggest women’s mental abilities are not affected whether estradiol is taken shortly or long after menopause. Furthermore, estradiol did not appear to benefit nor harm mental abilities, regardless of when estradiol was started in relation to menopause. 

"Our results suggest that healthy women at all stages after menopause should not take estrogen to improve memory,” said study author Victor W. Henderson, MD, MS, of Stanford University School of Medicine in California and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, in a press release. “At the same time, women need not particularly be concerned about negative effects of postmenopausal estrogen supplements on memory when used for less than five years."

This study did not evaluate other types of estrogen, these researchers noted.

This study was published in the journal Neurology

The National Institutes of Health supported this research. Teva Pharmaceuticals, Watson Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Laboratories provided study drugs and placebos for this study.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 21, 2016
Last Updated:
July 27, 2016