I have a general menopause question about my eyes. I’m post meno, 56 and Estrogel (1 pump) has helped my palpitations in the last few weeks. However, my eyes are not just dry but increasingly sore. Could the gel be causing this? I’m already using a heated eye pack and drops. Thank you.
Dr Stephanie Goodwin, GP and menopause specialist replies: This is a great general menopause question because dry eyes are, I’m afraid, a very common problem in women, especially around the time of the menopause. There has been a suggestion that it could be made slightly worse with HRT but once you get to 56 the chance of having dry eyes without HRT is quite high.
If your eyes are sore, then you should get them checked. The soreness can be secondary to them being very dry. A good optician will check your eye health and see if you are producing enough tears and oils on the eye. Often the glands in the eyes get blocked and need cleaning with special solutions that you can buy from the chemist. Preservative free eye drops will help. Taking omega 3 can help too.
So, I would recommend a good eye assessment in the first place. Don’t stop your HRT – you will miss out on all of the benefits. Try to reduce the amount of time you spend using a computer screen, too.
Sounds like a random general menopause question but can lightheadedness and the feeling of walking on a trampoline be associated with menopause?
Dr Louise Newson, GP and menopause specialist replies: These feelings can sometimes be associated with the menopause. We have receptors for hormones in cells in our brains so it is fairly common for women to experience symptoms such as light-headedness, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus and even balance problems when they are perimenopausal or menopausal.
This is a strange one but does anyone else get sensitive teeth? Just to add to the rest of the symptoms!
Low levels of oestrogen can make you more prone to inflammation, which can affect gums and general oral health. Your mouth may feel more dry.
Bone loss can make the bones of your jaw less robust affecting the stability of your teeth. It’s really important to have regular hygiene checks. I go three times a year and have an annual dental check up. Use a good quality toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and floss or use interdental brushes (gently) every day. I use an electric toothbrush that has a gentle setting to stop overbrushing the gums.
Avoid eating sugary foods, and make sure that you eat enough calcium in your diet. I often recommend a vitamin D supplement with vitamin K, which is good for the bones.
Can menopause cause tinnitus and if so, is there any treatment?
Dr Stephanie Goodwin, GP and menopause specialist replies: The menopause doesn’t cause tinnitus but it’s more common as you get older. I know because I have it.
Tinnitus can be triggered by stress. Nobody really fully understands it but it may be secondary to some hearing loss.
The first thing is to try and ignore it and not seek it out. The more you do that, the more it can persist. Background white noise can help too, especially at night. There is an app called Sleep Pillow that plays different white noises. It can be very helpful.
Try not to wake up to a sudden alarm, use something that wakes you gradually. The shock of being woken up suddenly can make it louder first thing in the morning. It gradually settles in most people. I’ve written a blog about it, here.
I have been experiencing hot flushes and sweating for over 13 years and wondered if there is anything to help, especially the sweating? I am 62 yrs and my GP prescribed an antidepressant which has helped the flushes but not the sweating. Clonidine was tried but didn’t help? Thank you.
Dr Stephanie Goodwin, GP and menopause specialist replies: This is a general menopause question that is especially relevant for older women. You can use low dose HRT in women over 60 as long as you do a careful cardiovascular risk assessment – blood pressure, cholesterol etc. Oestrogen is best used through the skin as a patch or gel, with oral progesterone – utrogestan. Your GP may be unhappy about prescribing so you could ask to be referred to a menopause clinic.
If the antidepressant is helping, then the dose could be increased, that might also sort it out. You can also try CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy – for hot flushes. And avoid caffeine and alcohol. Here is a link to some more information Womens-health-concern.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/WHC-FACTSHEET-CBT-WOMEN-NOV2017.pdf Hope that helps.
Keep posting your general menopause questions to us on Instagram at @mpowered_women. You can find more answers on other topics, including HRT, here. We will do our best to get all of your questions answered. Please understand that our experts cannot enter into any personal consultations.