A new study has linked early menopause to a woman's poorer memory and slow reaction times.
In the west, the average age at which women experience menopause is 50 years. The study compared women who experienced an early menopause with women who had late menopause.
Almost 5,000 women participated in the study and the results were evaluated after two, four and seven years.
According to the results, those who had early menopause had 40 per cent more chance of faring badly on verbal fluency and visual memory tests than those who experienced menopause at age 50 or more.
After seven years, they were also one third more likely to exhibit deterioration in their reaction times and overall thinking ability.
Lead author Dr Joanne Ryan, postdoctoral research fellow in Neuropsychiatry at Hospital La Colombiere, in Montpellier, France, said, "Both premature surgical menopause and premature ovarian failure, were associated with long-term negative effects on cognitive function, which are not entirely offset by menopausal hormone treatment."
The researchers also found that treatment with hormone replacement therapy at the time of menopause did not help in stopping the problems in thinking and memory.
Ryan said, "This study adds to the existing evidence base to suggest premature menopause can have a significant impact on cognitive function in later life which healthcare professionals must be aware of."