Hormone therapy taken at the start of menopause may not improve women's memory but it does improve their libido, research suggests.
A study of 180 early menopausal women between the ages of 45 and 55 found no significant difference in cognition between women taking hormone therapy and those taking placebo tablets.
The results are inconsistent with earlier studies which have found some improvement in verbal memory.
Women who took hormone therapy, however, reported a 44% increase in sexual interest.
They also experienced less hot flashes and night sweats and enjoyed, in general, a greater quality of life.
Pauline Maki at the University of Illinois in Chicago said: "While our results are inconsistent with smaller studies that found improvement in verbal memory for women who only used estrogen, it may be that progesterone modifies the protective effects of estrogen on verbal memory."