To set the scene, I should explain two things – one, although I am only 52, my husband, in his sixties, lives with Alzheimer’s disease and, for myself, I have had some periods in life with quite serious mental illness, most notably a post puerperal psychosis following the birth of our son, now 16. These two things together meant that the time of my operation was never going to be easy.
There has been a long debate about the role that HRT may play in the prevention of dementia in later life, this is because it is felt that oestrogen may be key to it’s development in women. Researchers who studied 1,489 women have now found that some who had one or both ovaries removed before menopause may be at increased risk for dementia. They compared the women with another group of 1,472 who had their ovaries retained and studied both groups for between 25 and 30 years.
According to the British Medical Journal and other learned publications the rhubarb root extract phytoestrol, which is a natural form of oestrogen, is effective in treating loss of libido, dry eyes and vagina, moodswings, bad hair and skin.
1500 Women in a 30-year follow-up study who had ovaries surgically removed before menopause had nearly double the risk for developing age-related dementia later in life. However, this increase in risk was not seen in women who had both ovaries removed and were also treated with oestrogen until at least age 50.
A well known impact of the menopause, is often problems with memory and there has been some indication that the onset of Alzheimers Disease is affected by the loss of oestrogen following natural or surgical menopause.