Itchy ears and menopause? Yes, you heard it right. This is one of the less common menopausal symptoms you have encountered, right? If you’ve been troubled with regular bouts of itchiness in your ears and suddenly know it is happening due to menopausal hormonal imbalances, you are bound to be surprised. But there is truth to this statement.
Menopause isn’t only about hot flashes or mood swings; there’s much more to it. The fluctuating hormone levels impact your entire body – more than you can imagine.
Adults aren’t as prone to ear infections as kids. However, some are at more risk than others, especially those with compromised immune systems. People with respiratory tract infections or who spend ample time in water may be susceptible.
Now, getting to the topic, let us understand how menopause is responsible for itchy ears. We will also learn about the solutions to cope with itchy ears.
What Are the Reasons for Itchy Ears in Menopause?
The majority of the conditions women face during menopause are because of the low estrogen levels. So, when you have an itchy inner ear, you could put the reduced estrogen levels to blame. Estrogen isn’t just a reproductive hormone but has many other functions.
One of the pivotal roles of estrogen is to promote water retention. The estrogen levels begin to decline when you are in perimenopause (40-44 years ). In menopause (45-55 years on average), their numbers dwindle further.
This has an impact on the skin and also on the ear cavity’s lining. It makes the ears appear dry, increasing itchiness in the inner lining. Besides itchiness, low estrogen levels can lead to other problems. These include ringing ears, earaches, hot ears, etc.
Ear Problems One Can Face In Menopause
As mentioned above, menopause not only leads to itchy ears but will trigger other conditions, too. Let us take a look at each one of them.
- Ringing ears, medically called tinnitus, is one condition that could intensify when there is a drop in the levels of estrogen. However, knowing that a spike in these hormone levels may even result in ringing ears is essential. That’s why pregnant women are thrice more susceptible to ear infections than those who aren’t pregnant. Hormonal changes in menopause affect blood pressure and blood flow, further aggravating the condition. Most women may go through ringing years during the menopause transition phase, which begins when a woman is 40-44.
- Changes in the inner ear may also happen when the estrogen levels reduce. The mucus membranes start drying out, impacting not just your hearing but your balance. That is why when in perimenopause and menopause, it is pretty normal to have vertigo problems and even face frequent bouts of dizziness.
- When you often find your ears blocked in your 40s and 50s, you could blame it on the changing estrogen levels. As the membranes become dried, they lose their ability to regulate the ear’s wax production. This may cause the ears to produce increased amounts of wax. When you have blocked ears, you could have a higher risk of flu infections.
- As a woman ages, she will be more prone to hearing loss. Studies have shown that reductions in estrogen levels have triggered hearing loss in women.
What Are the Symptoms of Itchy Ears and Other Ear Conditions that Women May Face in Menopause?
Let us look at the symptoms women may go through when they have itchy ears, ringing ears, or other ear infections during menopause:
Itchy ears are a symptom of their own, quite evident from the name, where the inner ear canal gets itchy and dried. However, with itchy ears, one may have other associated symptoms. These include:
- Itchy throat
- Red or discolored skin
- Ringing ears
- Blocked or clogged ears
- Swollen ears
- Muffled hearing
- Ear discharge or pus
When one has tinnitus or ringing ears, they may experience an array of noises, including hissing, buzzing, clicking, humming, or roaring sounds. The sounds may vary in pitch from a low humming to a loud roaring sound. One may hear the sound either in one ear or both.
When you have blocked ears, perhaps due to excessive accumulation of ear wax, you could experience signs like:
- Ear ache
- Ringing noise
- Feelings of dizziness
- Loss of hearing
- Smelly discharge from the ear due to infection
5 Possible Solutions to Deal With Itchy Ears and Other Ear Conditions That Women Face in Menopause
When you have itchy ears or other ear conditions, it is essential to address them at the earliest, or they may exacerbate. When it comes to ear infections, people often resort to several home remedies to get relief. There isn’t any wrong in doing the same, especially if you make the right choices. However, a doctor’s consultation is always advisable before starting any self-treatment. Here are some things to relieve yourself from itchy ears and other ear conditions.
1. Natural Remedies
If dryness is the cause of itchy ears, then you can get instant relief by massaging your ears gently using a few drops of baby or olive oil. This remedy works better when the itchiness is a result of hearing aids. If so, ensure the drop doesn’t contact your hearing aid.
So, the best time to try this remedy is during bedtime. In menopause, you will already be troubled with itchy ears, and if you wear a hearing aid, your woes will increase further. That’s why this remedy will be of immense help then.
Essential oils’ role in itchy ears and other ear infections has been much discussed. Some of the oils known for their antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties include tea tree oil, garlic oil, and basil oil. However, seeking a medical practitioner’s advice is always essential before applying it to your ears.
2. Check Your Diet
Diet significantly impacts your health, and you’ll be surprised that your eating may have an effect on your ears, too. Food allergies often trigger itchy ears. You could be allergic to any particular food. However, the typical foods likely to trigger allergies include soy, fish, nuts, shellfish, and fish.
Those with pollen allergies are likely to be allergic to foods like cherries, apples, kiwis, bananas, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, etc. In menopause, your ears will already be itchy due to dryness. To avoid further distress, you must watch out for what you eat.
You should also ensure that your diet has foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, as this nutrient significantly reduces ear problems. It also contributes to proper hearing. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish, nuts, seeds like chia, walnuts, and flaxseed, and oils such as soybean, canola, and flaxseed.
3. Drink Sufficient Water
As mentioned, in menopause, estrogen levels cannot retain sufficient water in the body and skin. This leads to dry skin and dried ears. When you stay hydrated, it will not just take care of the dryness in your ears and skin but will also boost your overall health.
4. OTC Medicines
When you find it difficult to cope with itchiness and ear infections, seek a doctor’s advice. He may help you with OTC ear drops. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have redness or ear infection. Never purchase OTC drops without a doctor’s advice.
5. Seek Medical Help
While itchiness in the ears can be treated at home to some extent, if you have more severe problems like ringing noise in the ear or an ear blockage, home treatment may not always be possible. In such cases, a doctor’s consultation will be needed immediately. For instance, in the case of tinnitus or ringing ears, the condition needs to be diagnosed first.
Then, the treatment will start according to the severity. If ear wax is making the symptoms worse, then the doctor will initiate wax removal. If the ringing noise is because of hearing loss due to aging, then hearing aids might be recommended.
More studies are needed to analyze the role of menopause and hormone replacement therapy. Tinnitus or ringing ears could be seen in some women when HRT begins. However, eventually, hormone replacement therapy is said to have a positive effect on tinnitus, lowering its incidence to a greater extent.
A study examined the medical documents of women aged 45-79 years in the menopause phase. It was found that HRT had positive effects, helping women to manage and prevent tinnitus.
The role of acupuncture in dealing with menopause symptoms has been widely discussed. Acupuncture focuses on stimulating the nerves, also targeting the throat, neck, and head muscles. The aim is to relieve the strain on the nerves of the ears and upper neck. Women suffering from ringing ears in menopause may benefit significantly from acupuncture. However, a doctor’s consultation must be sought before opting for acupuncture.
The audiologist will first determine if menopause is the reason for the hearing loss. He will also conduct a hearing examination to understand the severity of the situation. If required, he may even prescribe hearing aids to help you cope with your hearing problems.
Menopause is challenging, and the symptoms are equally troublesome. When you have identified that your hearing is declining with age, do not hesitate to address it immediately.
Sometimes, you may be so indulged in dealing with your hot flashes and vaginal dryness that you tend to ignore the less common symptoms and pass it off as one of the regular health problems you often face. Intervening ear problems like ear itchiness or even the ringing sound at the earliest may help you arrive at a quicker resolution.