This site uses cookies to measure how you use the website so it can be updated and improved based on your needs and also uses cookies to help remember the notifications you’ve seen, like this one, so that we don’t show them to you again. If you could also tell us a little bit about yourself, this information will help us understand how we can support you better and make this site even easier for you to use and navigate.

Longer duration of hormonal contraceptive use predicts better cognitive outcomes later in life


Egan, Kelly R., Gleason, Carey E.


Journal Of Women's Health (2002), Volume: 21, No.: 12, Pages.: 1259-1266

Year of Publication



Background: The cognitive effects of postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT) have been studied extensively, but little is known about the relationship between premenopausal hormone use and cognition. Hormonal contraceptive use vs. nonuse may be a potential factor influencing cognitive processes in midlife. The aim of this study is to explore the effect of modification of hormone milieu through use of hormonal contraception in premenopausal women and midlife cognitive function.; Methods: Subjects were 261 cognitively normal women, aged 40-65 (mean μ=52), enrolled in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention. All women completed the Women’s Health History Questionnaire and a self-report health history questionnaire and were administered a battery of neuropsychologic tests. Cognitive results were analyzed using summary scores for the domains of Verbal Ability, Visuo-spatial Ability, Working Memory, Verbal Learning & Memory, and Speed & Flexibility derived using a confirmatory factor analysis.; Results: Hormonal contraceptive ever users performed significantly better than never users in the domains of Visuo-spatial Ability (μ=0.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.23-1.28, p=0.005) and Speed & Flexibility (μ=0.52, 95% CI -0.16-1.04, p=0.007), with duration-dependent increases in performance, especially in ever users with ≥ 15 years of use.; Conclusions: These data provide preliminary evidence that hormonal contraceptive use may influence cognitive outcomes, even years after use is discontinued. Hormonal contraceptive users scored better in domains of Visuo-spatial Ability and Speed & Flexibility than never users, with a duration-dependent trend. Further research is needed to explore the use of hormonal contraceptives to prevent or delay cognitive decline and to clarify the physiologic basis of this phenomenon.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Egan_2012, doi = {10.1089/jwh.2012.3522}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {dec}, publisher = {Mary Ann Liebert Inc}, volume = {21}, number = {12}, pages = {1259--1266}, author = {Kelly R. Egan and Carey E. Gleason}, title = {Longer Duration of Hormonal Contraceptive Use Predicts Better Cognitive Outcomes Later in Life}, journal = {Journal of Women{textquotesingle}s Health} }


administration & dosage, adult, age factors, aged, cognition, contraception, contraceptive, contraceptives oral hormonal, factor analysis statistical, female, hormonal, humans, in, middle aged, neuropsychological tests, physiology, premenopause, premenpausal, psychiatric status rating scales, psychomotor performance, questionnaires, socioeconomic factors, statistics & numerical data, time factors, use, verbal learning, wisconsin, women

Countries of Study


Types of Study

Cohort Study

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Risk Factor Modification

Risk Factor Modifications

At risk population

Pharmaceutical Interventions