Hot flashes and estrogen therapy do not influence cognition in early menopausal women

Erin S. LeBlanc, Michelle B. Neiss, Phyllis E. Carello, Mary H. Samuels, Jeri S. Janowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To examine how menopausal symptoms and estrogen therapy (ET)-induced symptom relief affect cognition in early menopause. DESIGN: There were two components. Part 1 was a cross-sectional study of 37 healthy, recently postmenopausal women with diverse menopausal symptoms. Women were categorized as having low (n = 20) or high symptoms (n = 17) based on a validated symptom questionnaire. Women completed mood and sleep questionnaires and underwent cognitive testing, which included verbal memory, visual memory, emotional memory, and verbal fluency. Thirty-two of these women went on to part 2 of the study. Fourteen were randomly assigned to receive ET and 18 to receive placebo for 8 weeks. Before treatment and at 4 and 8 weeks, women completed the same measures as in part 1 of the study. RESULTS: High symptom women had more negative mood (P = 0.01) and lower quality sleep (P < 0.001) than low symptom women. Despite suffering from more menopausal symptoms, worse mood, and poorer sleep, women in the high symptom group performed the same on cognitive testing as women in the low symptom group. Women receiving ET had greater improvements in menopausal symptoms and sleep compared with those receiving the placebo (P = 0.05). ET did not improve mood compared with placebo. Women receiving ET did not have any improvement in cognitive performance compared with those receiving the placebo. CONCLUSIONS: Menopausal symptoms do not impair cognition. ET does not improve cognition despite alleviating symptoms and improving sleep in recently naturally menopausal women with diverse menopausal symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Cognition
  • Estrogen therapy
  • Hot flashes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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