Dryness during menopause



Menopause Advisor
@EileenDurward
Ask Eileen


05 December 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I’m going to talk about the symptom of dryness in the menopause.

Now, this can cause all sorts of health issues, and it can affect lots of different areas of the body. And we know that falling oestrogen can actually dry out the mucous membranes in the body. And the mucous membranes are basically anywhere where there’s any moistness presence. So we know the vagina is one area, the mouth is another area as well. But they’re all different situations in the body, some more well-known than others. So I thought I would just go through them all today.

Vaginal dryness

Now, vaginal dryness is probably the most common one. It’s the one that’s known most of all as well. What happens here is that oestrogen actually triggers the cervix to produce a specific mucous. And this mucous helps the vagina in lots of different ways. It helps to support the friendly bacteria there, which are very important for keeping infection at bay. The mucous also helps to keep the vaginal walls plump, elastic, and supple.

So when this mucous starts to dry up, it can cause a number of symptoms in the vagina. It can affect the friendly bacteria, so you can end up getting infections like thrush. It can also then trigger bladder infections as well. The lack of mucous can also cause the vagina wall to become less elastic. It can become a lot thinner. It can become a lot more brittle. And this is where a lot of the problem lies, because in this particular area, it’s going to have a huge effect on your sex life. And that, in turn, can also affect the relationship with your partner. It’s amazing how many women actually come to us and they’re just in tears because of this particular problem, causing anxiety and relationship issues. So this is a very important one to look at and to try and sort as well.

Digestion

We’ve our digestion. And we know that falling oestrogen can affect the digestion all the way down. And it’s amazing how many women of menopausal age will go their doctors because they’re getting a lot of indigestion. They’re getting a lot of stomach-ache. They’re getting gastric reflux. And they’re being put on stomach medication when, in fact, it is actually the menopause that’s causing this. The menopause will also slow down the transit time in the gut, and that can cause bloating here. It can cause constipation. It can cause wind as well. And for some women too, they actually get a lot of tightness of the throat area, and they can have difficulty swallowing as well, and that can just be due to oestrogen having an effect on this particular area.

Eyes

The eyes can be affected. And this is one that women don’t often realise. The eyes become a lot drier. They can become more irritated. They can become red. And the reduction of mucous and hydration can actually affect your sight as well. A lot of women find that menopausal age is the time when suddenly they realise that they can’t thread a needle anymore and they actually need…they need glasses. So this is actually a really important one. If you notice anything going on with your eyes, then it is very important to actually get this checked out with your optician. And remember to tell them that you’re going through the menopause, so that they can actually take that into account.

Mouth

Your mouth can become very dry, and this can cause a lot of problems. It can affect your speech, and it can actually affect the way that you chew your food too. And it’s very uncomfortable. We all know the odd time we end up with a dry mouth, it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. You can also get inflamed gums. And a lot of women find that in this particular time, they get pain in their teeth or that they start to get gum infections. Inflamed gums, bleeding gums in the menopause is a really common symptom as well. You can also get something called geographical tongue, and the tongue gets very, very sore, very, very inflamed too. So anything that’s going on in the mouth here, good idea is to go and get this checked out to your dentist and just to remind them that you’re actually going through the menopause.

A really good thing, if you’re getting the inflamed and bleeding gums, is a supplement called CoQ10. And be aware too that a lot of toothpastes are absolutely jam-packed full of chemicals, and these are not going to help your gums, if they’re really tender. So I actually find, for me, this is one of my symptoms was that a natural neem toothpaste was one of the best things to actually help with my gums.

Sinuses

Your sinuses can also be affected as well, and a lot of women find at this time that, especially in the winter, they start to get blocked sinuses. They get a lot of pain and discomfort, and they can get the sinus headache as well. Very often, you can get more infections. You can sneeze a lot more. You can also end up with allergies which you didn’t have before the menopause. All these things can affect the immune system and your immune system’s ability to cope with infection too.

Skin

We’ve got skin. Oh, don’t we know it. Our skin can get so dry, we end up with extra wrinkles. We can get the really dry patches on the elbows and the knees. We can get itchy skin. That’s another thing that comes very much with the dryness. And of course, we start to notice those little wrinkles in the mirror as well, which tend to make us very unhappy too.

Lungs

We’ve got the lungs, and again, I spoke about this just a few weeks ago, how oestrogen can affect the mucous lining of the lungs. It can lead to wheeziness. It can lead to shortness of breath. You may find that you can’t exercise for as long before you actually get out of puff, and that can make you much more vulnerable to lung infection such as bronchitis too. So it’s a very important one to watch the lungs.

What can you do?

So what can you do about all these issues of dryness? Because you might only get one symptom or you might find that you actually get a combination of these particular issues.

One of the best things, as long as it’s appropriate for you, is you can try to very gently raise your oestrogen levels so you can look at herbs such as Black Cohosh. You can look at fermented soya, such as in our Menopause Support, because these will just very gently raise and balance your oestrogen levels, and that can help to minimise the dryness that’s going on. You can also look at the supplement called Sea Buckthorn oil or Omega 7. This is a great one for keeping your skin looking well. And there’s a lot of research on it, in actually helping with vaginal dryness as well. It can help dryness in the mouth and dryness of the eyes too. So it’s one that’s certainly worth looking into.

The other thing is just to make sure you’re getting enough good fats in your diet. Because again, as I’m always saying, you know, as women, we want to look to look trim, and menopausal women are forever going on diets. It’s really not good for you, especially if you’re getting your fats down, because these fats are needed to keep your skin healthy too, so healthy fats are a really important part of a good diet. And remember the water, that’s going to make such a difference very, very quickly. So it’s your one and a half liters of plain water a day, and remember, as always, that tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, and fruit juices don’t count. It needs to be plain water to get the best benefit.

Until next week...

So I hope that gave you a little bit of an insight into all the different areas of our body that can actually be affected by falling oestrogen. So, I look forward to seeing you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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