Tuesday, 5 Jul 2022

HRT should be prescribed earlier as Menopause ‘reshapes the brain’ say doctors

Louise Minchin discusses her experiences with menopause

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Doctors are now saying HRT should now be prescribed earlier due to the effect of the menopause on the brain.

Research suggests menopause “reshapes” the brain and HRT helps prevent a degree of reshaping.

Dr Roberta Brinton says HRT can have protective benefits.

Author of a study that says the menopause causes a reduction in grey matter and changes to blood flow, Brinton describes menopause as “like a renovation project on the brain, a restructuring, a rewiring…the idea that we can just suck it up is actually deleterious to women’s long-term health”.

Research has discovered delayed HRT prescription can have a significant negative impact.

Dr Brinton explains: The use of oestrogen and hormone therapy at the time of menopausal symptoms [is key], not 10 [or] 15 years later, the brain has changed and it’s no longer going to respond to oestrogen therapy.”

Menopause has long been known to have an impact on the brain with problems with memory and concentration one of the main symptoms.

Awareness around menopause comes at a time when there is a widespread shortage of the medication in the country.

Such is the nature of the crisis, the government has assigned a HRT Tsar to fix the problem.

However, no solution has as yet been found and rationing has had to be introduced.

Women can now only get three months’ worth of HRT.

This has caused outcry at a time when the exact reason for the shortage has not been ascertained.

The leading theory on the shortage is the sheer rise in demand.

Famous public figures such as Davina McCall and Penny Lancaster have spent recent months campaigning for more awareness of the menopause.

In an interview with Talk TV Lancaster said: “We just want our hormones back.”

Lancaster described her experiences of the menopause when she was affected by symptoms at the beginning of the first national lockdowns in 2020.

Going forward it is hoped the shortage will solved so fewer women suffer a symbolic and symptomatically difficult period.

Symptoms of the menopause are:
• Hot flushes
• Night sweats
• Vaginal dryness
• Difficulty sleeping
• Low mood and anxiety
• Reduced sex drive
• Problems with memory and concentration.

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