A woman’s body is very complex. It goes through a lot of changes over its lifetime, especially once the child bearing days are over. This is when a woman hits menopause. Besides not getting periods, there are various other hormonal changes that takes place in the body, which are also linked to a variety of health problems, especially hot flashes. Hot flashes are characterised by intense heat, rapid heartbeat, and sweating, and each occurrence may last as long as thirty minutes. The cause of hot flashes is linked with the decreased levels of oestrogen in the body as a result of menopause. When the body doesn’t have as much oestrogen, it effects the ability of the hypothalmus to regulate body temperature.
These changes can leave a lot of women confused as to how to monitor their health, and since hormone therapy is the most common treatment, a lot of women turn to that. Hormone replacement therapy – medications containing female hormones to replace the ones the body no longer makes after menopause – is a standard treatment for women with hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. However, it is now being touted to cause serious health issues.
Hearing loss, which is one of the main problems that women turn to hormone replacement therapy for, is actually aggravated by this therapy, a new study suggests. HRT is supposed to replace the oestrogen in the body and hence, help in reducing hearing loss, but the new research shows otherwise.
“Although the role of sex hormones in hearing is complex and incompletely understood, these findings suggest that women who undergo natural menopause at an older age may have a higher risk,” said lead author of the study Sharon Curhan from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, US.
“In addition, longer duration of postmenopausal hormone therapy use is associated with higher risk. These findings suggest that hearing health may be a consideration for women when evaluating the risks and benefits of hormone therapy,” Curhan said.
To investigate the role of menopause and postmenopausal hormone therapy as risk factors for hearing loss, the researchers prospectively examined the independent links between menopausal status, oral hormone therapy, and risk of self-reported hearing loss in 80,972 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II followed from 1991-2013.
During the study period, 23 per cent of the participants developed hearing loss. However, women can get rid of these symptoms even without choosing to go for hormone replacement therapy by making a few changes in their lifestyle.
There is some evidence that healthy lifestyle behaviours can improve some symptoms of the menopause – for example, hot flashes and night sweats. In addition, weight loss, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy can have also a mild-to-moderate effect on these symptoms. Some women may also experience that eating spicy foods, drinking, or smoking may aggravate the symptoms. Therefore, it is recommended for them to avoid these things.
Wearing lighter-weight clothes, sleeping in a cooler room, and reducing stress can also help women decrease the intensity and frequency of hot flashes.