Surgical Menopause May Cause Decline in Memory
By on January 14th, 2013

New research by the American Academy of Neurology shows that surgically removal of ovaries before natural menopause is correlated with memory decline in women.

This study provides another piece of information into the debate about HRT for women who undergo surgical menopause. Image source: Women’s Health Info


What is Surgical Menopause?

Women opt for surgical menopause in case of ovarian cancers and also when faced with certain uterine disorders like endometriosis. Surgical menopause leads to an abrupt drop in estrogen levels in women, as opposed to normal menopause, which leads to a gradual decline. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often used to counter this sudden drop in the hormone; however, this procedure has come under scrutiny in recent years because it has been linked to the incidence of breast cancer and stroke.

How Did They Do This?

In this study conducted on 1837 women (a third of whom underwent surgical menopause), researchers showed that women who underwent surgical menopause without HRT showed an increase of decline in memory and cognitive skills. This decline was higher when the age of surgical menopause was lower. Women who had opted for HRT, on the other hand, showed a reduced decline.

This research is likely to be significant in light of aging populations. Surgical menopause is often a necessity, but the use of HRT remains controversial. These results are not, however, an unequivocal endorsement of HRT. They merely point to the importance of weighing the pros and cons of HRT carefully in each individual case.

The actual details of this study are not available. These results were obtained from materials provided by the American Academy of Neurology.

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Author: Shweta Ramdas
Beginning life as a grad student studying human genetics.

Shweta Ramdas has written and can be contacted at

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