Today is World Menopause Day. That’s not a topic that you would normally expect to pop up in a tinnitus blog! However, it’s definitely worth discussing.
There seems to be a link between declining oestrogen levels and an onset in tinnitus. That seems a bit unfair given that many of us are already dealing with a lot of challenges. After all, we may already be living with hot flushes, irritability, dry skin, and random joint pain. Plus, given that perimenopause (the period before menopause) typically takes place in our late 40s and early 50s, we may also be juggling our jobs with looking after our kids AND helping ageing parents. Phew!
Whether we have just started with tinnitus at this point in our life, or we have had it for a while, our hot flushes, fatigue and elevated stress are not going to make our mood, and therefore our tinnitus, any better.
So, what can we do to help ourselves? The main thing is to stop trying to be superwomen! It’s so tempting to try and maintain the mask of being able to do it all, but we simply can’t. Especially when we reach the menopause and hormonal changes leave our brain struggling as much as our body.
Here are the best three ways we can help ourselves at what, for many women, is a really challenging time:
Look after ourselves
I know this is much easier said than done, especially if we’re caring for two generations. But we will be in a better position to look after our families, and thrive at work, if we take some time out. I’m not talking spa breaks, or weekends away with the girls, though they are always awesome. Instead, I’m talking about the basics – making sure we eat a wide range of foods (sadly 3 types of chocolate don’t count!), drinking plenty of water and getting the best sleep we can manage.
Research the menopause
See what help you can get to make life easier for yourself. Some women find Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) really helpful. However, some women don’t want to use it, or can’t. I personally can’t because of a family history of breast cancer and Susun Weed’s New Menopausal Years: Alternative Approaches for Women (Wise Woman Herbal) has really helped me to reduce the symptoms that are within my control. For those symptoms I can’t reduce (other than by HRT) I delve into my toolbox of mindfulness practices to manage my response to those symptoms instead. Here are some super-speedy exercises you can use whenever you need them.
Manage our stress
Whether we’re sailing or struggling through menopause, one thing that makes a difference to tinnitus for all of us is reducing stress. Here’s a helpful article from The North American Menopause Society with tips on relieving stress.
Quick note: I’m not a physician. If your tinnitus has recently appeared, please go and check this out with your primary healthcare practitioner. Tinnitus can start for so many reasons that it’s worth consulting your doctor when you first experience it.