FEMM staff – (New York, May 2018)
Hormones (steroids) change women’s brains, and understanding reproductive hormones, from puberty through menopause, is essential to the management and care of women’s health.
A new study by the Reproductive Health Research Institute (RHRI) outlines the importance of hormonal balance to women’s health, and its link to healthy brain function and the central nervous system. Sex hormones impact every area of a woman’s health and function, through dramatic fluctuations in the levels of progesterone and estradiol change throughout her cycle. Changing hormones (steroids) influence neurotransmitter and metabolites that impact brain areas critical to the regulation of mood, behavior, and cognitive abilities.
Management of women’s health requires an understanding of these changing hormone levels. While hormones and their link to metabolic disorders, mood disorders, and infertility are increasingly well-known, this study advances knowledge of hormone influence on brain development and cognition. This raises important questions regarding the use of hormones during adolescence, since brain plasticity is still active in shaping the development of neural and cognitive pathways.
The review emphasizes the importance of proper hormonal balance in every stage of life. To achieve this, women and physicians must have an understanding of hormone level evaluations that consider a woman’s age and ovulatory status in reaching a diagnosis and offering treatment support. Knowledge of hormone effects on the brain is an important tool for women and health care providers to provide better education and health care and treatment options to women.
Click here to read the paper itself.