Considering how annoying menstruation is, many people who suffer from it would like to have an on and off button. Turn it on only when they want to reproduce and turn it off the rest of their life. However, the truth is that having a period is not only useful for that purpose. In fact, according to a recent study by University College Londonhaving menstruation for many years could decrease the risk of dementia.
This means that those women who had their first period very soonthe very late menopause or, preferably, both they have one better brain health in this aspect.
Previously, studies carried out on this topic had shown contradictory results. However, this, according to its authors, is the largest study that has been carried out to date. In it, data from 273,260 women, so much more extensive information was obtained. The conclusions indicate that, possibly, the cumulative effects of estrogen They have a protective role. The causes are not entirely clear, but, even so, it is a result that should be taken into account when making certain medical decisions.
Tell me your years of menstruation and I will tell you your risk of dementia
The data analyzed in this study belonged to women registered in the UK Biobank. This is a file that includes medical records and analytical data of a large number of people who have voluntarily provided them. It is very useful for all types of studies, as it avoids having to recruit volunteers specifically for a specific investigation.
In this case, the brain health of the women was taken into account, comparing it with the age at which they had their first period (menarche) and the last one (menopause).
If menarche occurred after 15 years, the study showed a 12% higher risk of dementia compared to those who had their first period at a younger age. On the other hand, those women who reached menopause with more than 50 years They were 24% less likely to have dementia. If, in addition, many years of menstruation were accumulated, with early menarche and late menopause, the difference was especially significant.
What is this data for?
There were two pieces of information that caught the attention of the researchers. On the one hand, the increased risk of dementia with early menopause occurred whether it occurred due to natural causes or as a result of a surgery.
And, on the other hand, they saw that the hormone replacement therapy given to people with menopause did not have a protective effect.
The first piece of information is important when deciding whether to carry out certain operations. Many of the surgeries in which the uterus and ovaries are removed are done preventively, with benign lesions. Therefore, if this continues to be confirmed, it would be very important to calculate the benefit/risk balancealso taking into account the risk of dementia.
As for the second fact, it could indicate that these results have nothing to do with estrogens. However, that does not seem to be the case. In fact, it has been proven that the brains of deceased women with Alzheimer’s They have lower than normal estrogen levels. And also that the estradiol exposure Over many years the volume of gray matter increases. This refers to the regions of the nervous system formed by neurons whose axons are not covered with myelin. Phenomena such as communication or memory are controlled in this part of the nervous system, which is why its deterioration is related to dementia.
For some reason, when estrogens are administered exogenous, as in menopausal replacement therapy, do not act in the same way. But that does not mean that they do not influence protection against dementia naturally. There is increasing evidence that it does protect.
Should be studied more
These results make it clear that it is necessary to continue investigating the protective role of estrogens. It should also be analyzed why replacement therapy does not help.
But, above all, it indicates the importance of carrying out studies with women and other menstruating people. Although the risk of dementia is much higher in women, most studies, to no one’s surprise, have been carried out with male brains or male experimental animals.
Therefore, more study must be done and the people most affected must be taken into account more. It may seem obvious, but it is clearly necessary to remember it.