How do you tell the difference between Parkinsons and Menopause?

I have asked the question before, but so many of the symptoms of Menopause and Parkinsons seem to co-exist. How do you tell the difference?

Is there any ongoing research on the loss of estrogen and its impact on Parkinsons? Everything I have read seems inconclusive.

Does HRT help Parkinsons? I think so….anyone have any thoughts on this?

Can you be on HRT forever with Parkinsons?

Interested to hear your experiences in this area. As context, my mum has had Parkinsons for 20 years and was diagnosed soon after coming off HRT. My theory is that the HRT may have kept the Parkinsons at bay.

Must addmit this is a difficult question. I went though the menopause when I was 40. I was not diagnosed with PD till I was 62/63 but when you look at the signs When you go though the change it is you body eg your baby maker bits thats calling it a day, But when you have PD it is your brain that is the cause. This is only my opinion. PS I was on HRT for about 5 years. Just one more piece of PD More men get PD than women and they (I don’t think) are on HRT.

Background - Ive had PD for 38 years. I have not taken HRT.
One week out of every 4 it is noticeable that my medication is almost useless and this is the PMT period of the cycle (Before the change and after). – when estrogen levels getting low. Once your oestrogen starts to diminish other hormones, particularly adrenaline, rush in to fill the gap and cause havoc. The neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA all play significant roles in regulating mood.,
It is such a complex subject as you have input from hormones, neurotransmitters and life itself. Ive tried to get the medical profession interested but to no avail. I just cope.
So in answer to your questions:- can you tell the difference? – YES and NO – even your brain doesn’t have a clue what it is doing sometimes! Research/ HRT help? I cant say . HRT may have helped to shield the consequences of PD but not kept it at bay. I have always believed you can do much to help relieve the symptons but the illness will continue to get stronger whatever!
Looking back on what Ive written, don’t think Ive really helped with HRT but hope I have given a helpful answer!

Hi everyone, :wave:t5:

Dr Rebecca Lewis, is a GP, with a special interest in menopause. On the Parkinson’s Magazine, she explains what the menopause is, how symptoms can be similar to Parkinson’s, and how it can be treated. In light of the conversation on this thread, I thought you’d be interested in reading this as this may answer many of the questions you all have.

Please see the link HERE.

Best wishes,

@mary1947 Was there any correlation between the time you stopped taking HRT and the Parkinsons diagnosis?

I think it is just interesting the impact that the loss of Estrogen has on the body. Yes- more men get Parkinsons but they do not have the protective power of Estrogen. I believe that all of the research is inconclusive. However, recent findings suggest that Estrogen has some kind of protection against dementia.

@breeze 38 years is such a long time to have Parkinsons. I hope you are doing ok. I assume you had early onset Parkinsons? When you say you have tried to get the medical profession interested, what do you mean? Tried to share more information on the impact of hormones?

I guess I was trying to say that so many of the symptoms of the menopause are the same as Parkinsons.

I think it is interesting that there is information out there that suggests HRT can have a protective power against dementia so I just wondered why everything was inconclusive in this area of Parkinsons/ menopause/ HRT correlations

@Reah thank you. However, no, it doesn’t really help. It just says that research with Parkinsons and HRT is limited. My key question is really….why is the research limited? There is some kind of correlation for information to be out there suggesting that HRT can have a protective power against dementia. Why is it all so inconclusive? Thank you

Hi I started symptoms of PD in my early 20’s – didn’t get diagnosed until I was 39 and am now in late 50’s . I have told all the consultants I have ever seen, about the relationship between hormones and medication not working. The only thing that has happened is I got sent to a hormone specialist who basically couldn’t be bothered to investigate.
Over the years I have kept charts of period/pd symptons/pmt effect to map the relationship between them all and tried to see what hormones might be at play. Charts are brilliant ways to show an consultant what is happening but It is a very difficult subject to get to grips with. I think that everything is inconclusive when it comes to this subject because it doesn’t attract the sponsorship needed and in the scope of things, taking the whole pd population, women of a certain age are a very small minority.
I still get the one week when my meds don’t work properly – I stopped periods about 7 years ago! I haven’t taken HRT but it has been and is tough to cope with. There is much more information on the internet now than a few years ago. Basically I think you have to find a way to cope, allow yourself to rest and not feel guilty about doing so and tell people what is going on. Having PD whilst still having periods is a double whammy and thats putting it lightly! Take care all of you. Breeze

Hi must admit that I cannot remember if there was any correlation from when i stopped taking it and been diagnosed with PD. Looking back most mum family had/died with dementia (this includes my mum) and when she went though the menapose there was not any HRT Two years ago my brother was also diagnosed with PD so myself i think dementia is so way conected with PD.
@mary1947 Was there any correlation between the time you stopped taking HRT and the Parkinsons diagnosis?

I think it is just interesting the impact that the loss of Estrogen has on the body. Yes- more men get Parkinsons but they do not have the protective power of Estrogen. I believe that all of the research is inconclusive. However, recent findings suggest that Estrogen has some kind of protection against dementia.


I found this article.

This study says that a later age at menopause was associated with a decreased risk of PD in women, supporting the hypothesis that sex hormones or other factors related to late menopause may be neuroprotective in PD.

Increased Menopausal Age Reduces the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease: A Mendelian Randomization Approach - PubMed


It must have been very frustrating to put your thoughts forward and not have it all properly investigated

I understand what you are saying about the area not attracting sponsorship

Looking at the stats:-

145,000 in the UK have Parkinsons

The number of people with Parkinson’s under the age of 50: 1,752 (1.2% of people with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s are under the age of 50).

Number of women in the UK, aged 50 to 89, with Parkinson’s: 56,990

That is still a significant number. Why can’t it be funded and looked into, in more detail?

Hello again
I actually just found this article from 2022 which is super long but very interesting on the topic.

In essence, the key points at the end are as follows:-

‘We believe that despite some inconsistent results, the current findings support a role for menopause on the risk of PD onset.

Several works support the hypothesis that menopause may constitute a triggering risk factor, which interaction with other risk factors and other possible pathological processes may modify the onset of PD’

So what is the next step in more research being done in this area to build on what has been done so far?

My mum (who has had Parkinsons for 20 years), also went through an early menopause. She was on HRT for over 10 years before being diagnosed soon after coming off the HRT at age 62

Does anyone else have any input or thoughts on this, in relation to their own experience.

Hi @HavanaS, :wave:t5:

When it comes to the menopause most of the research to date has focused on the effects of oestrogen replacement therapy for women with Parkinson’s, with some studies showing that it may improve symptoms. More research is needed to further investigate this.

We agree that more research is vitally needed in this area. We work with people affected by Parkinson’s to help shape research, including people who help decide which research grants are funded. If a researcher approached us with a project in this area it would be highly considered for our support. We hope that articles such as the ones previously shared in the Parkinson, and a campaign from The European Parkinson’s Disease Association will help to raise awareness of this unmet need.

A scientific paper published in 2022 highlighted more areas that are a key research focus in order to better understand the differences between how men and women experience Parkinson’s symptoms. You can read a summary of the key issues here: Women and Parkinson’s. What are the unmet needs for women… | by Dr Katherine Fletcher | Parkinson’s UK | Medium

Best wishes,

Hello Reah
Thank you. I am heartened to read that. I actually spoke with Katherine Fletcher, two years ago in May of 2021 and expressed a lot of those questions back then.

If you would welcome a researcher coming to you to study this area and would consider supporting it, what would it take to make this happen? Is anything happening to actively seek out those researchers or does it require the funding of a big pharmaceutical? Thank you

Hi @HavanaS, :wave:t5:

You’ve raised some really interesting questions which our research team would be more than happy to answer. Feel free to contact them via email and include your contact details so they can set up a call with you to discuss this further. You can reach them at [email protected].

Best wishes,