Tinnitus and Menopause



As you go through menopause, chances are you will have a long list of symptoms. While most of the symptoms are occasional annoyances, some could be quite bothersome. For example, some of the smaller symptoms might include itchy skin, achy joints, and increase in allergies, breast tenderness, and bleeding of the gums. The more troublesome symptoms of menopause typically involve mood swings, loss of libido, overwhelming fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and weight gain. However, some women will experience unusual symptoms that might include change of body color, a sensation of electric shock under the skin, burning of the tongue and roof of mouth, and softer fingernails. Even tinnitus and menopause can go hand-in-hand.

Tinnitus during menopause, which is ringing in the ears, is one of those physical conditions that tends to manifest but only in some women and some of the time. While tinnitus and menopause have been related, keep in mind that this condition has also been associated with other things to include heart disease and hypothyroidism, as well side effects from a number of medications such as Prozac and regular aspirin. Although studies are still being performed, it appears there is a connection between hormonal cycles and change with tinnitus.

For example, although you might see tinnitus and menopause together, this condition commonly affects girls and boys going through puberty, women during their menstrual cycle years, women who are taking hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy, and women who have had a hysterectomy. As you can see, all of these instances have some connection to hormonal change, just as menopause. Again, the full understanding of why this occurs is not fully understood but with a clear correlation, more research is underway.

Menopause and tinnitusThe tinnitus during menopause could also be caused by a condition known as Otosclerosis, which affects the middle ear, although in both men and women. This particular disease is associated with bone growth on the tiny stapes bones located in the middle ear. What happens is that eventually, these small bones prevent the middle ear bones from conducting signals going to the inner ear. Unfortunately, the result of this is loss of hearing. As you can imagine, this condition is both frightening and serious. First noted during a womanís pregnancy in 1858, women were told to avoid pregnancy or go deaf. Fortunately, surgery has now been developed to correct hearing loss, as well as reduce tinnitus in menopause or any other situation.

Now, although there have been strong warnings in the past five years concerning hormone replacement therapy (HRT), some women still prefer this method for finding relief from menopausal symptoms. However, today there is some evidence showing that HRT can be a problem when it comes to tinnitus during menopause, among other things. With this, menstrual bleeding that occurs during peri-menopause can actually exacerbate the tinnitus.

Studies now show that the onset of tinnitus during menopause can be the consequence of HRT side effects, something that goes along with fluid retention, depression, insomnia, increased blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness. As an example, one particular study did a case on a woman who just days after taking HRT began to experience tinnitus during her menopause years. However, once she was taken off the HRT and was given steroids, the ringing in the ears stopped. After that, this woman was given an artificial form of HRT but this time, she had no problems with the tinnitus during menopause with the exception of a few intermittent occurrences over the following year.

Another theory about tinnitus and menopause is that peri-menopause, regular menopause, and HRT are simply age related issues. The reason is that as we reach our 40ís, 50ís, and 60s, tinnitus becomes more common. Therefore, since peri-menopause typically begins anytime from the age of 42 to 54, it would make sense that it could be linked to menopause when in fact, it might just be a normal part of the aging process. On the other hand, some doctors believe tinnitus and menopause are related and that as the woman experiences hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes, the tinnitus is affected. These doctors go on to believe that with the changes of estrogen and progesterone in the body, the tinnitus and menopause could be worse or better.

The bottom line is that more research is needed on the subject of tinnitus and menopause to determine if it is in fact just an age related issue or truly has something to do with the many changes of the body. However, the one thing we do know is that HRT is strongly believed to either cause or exacerbate the problem. Therefore, before you consider HRT, look at the list of problems and talk with a reputable doctor, as this form of treatment for menopause should be a last resort. Keep in mind that today, there are many options for treatment both tinnitus and menopause.


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