Menstrual period not linked to women's cognitive abilities, study suggests

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 5, 2017

The participants were tested at various points in their menstrual cycle, had blood samples taken to measure estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels and given cognitive tests.

While it has often been assumed that anyone who's menstruating isn't working at top mental pitch, the researchers found evidence to suggest that that's not the case.

For the study, the team recruited 68 women to examine three aspects of cognition across two menstrual cycles. "The hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle do not show any association with cognitive performance".

"As a specialist in reproductive medicine and a psychotherapist, I deal with many women who have the impression that the menstrual cycle influences their well-being and cognitive performance", confirmed Professor Brigitte Leeners of the Medical School in Hannover and University Hospital in Zürich.

All the study participants were monitored to investigate changes in three selected cognitive processes at different stages in the menstrual cycle.

Professor Brigitte Leeners, a Swiss specialist in reproductive medicine and a psychotherapist, sees several women who believe their menstrual cycle affects how they think - so she made a decision to test whether that's true.

The analysis during the first cycle suggested that cognitive bias and attention were affected.

While it is true that women go through certain hormonal changes during periods, it may not have any impact on their cognition or simply put, the brain's ability to think, respond and perform. "Although there might be individual exceptions, women's cognitive performance is in general not disturbed by hormonal changes occurring with the menstrual cycle".

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