April 7, 2019
If you’re a woman and you hear the word, “menopause,” you probably start to think about aging, hot flashes, night sweats, and being extremely uncomfortable. But did you know that women who suffer from sleep apnea in Marysville and menopause have a much more difficult time? Let’s take a look at the connection between the two and various treatment options.
Sleep Apnea 101
If your airway becomes blocked, and you discover you’re breathing stops one or multiple times each night, you have sleep apnea. There are two types: obstructive and central apnea. Central sleep apnea is rare and occurs when your brain fails to alert the body to inhale and exhale while asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and occurs when your airway is blocked. While oral appliance therapy can help with this type of apnea, it may not if you suffer from central sleep apnea.
The Connection to Menopause
While snoring may be a primary sign of sleep apnea in men, it is only a minor problem for many women. Instead, for women who are going through menopause, hot flashes and night sweats can also be linked to symptoms of sleep apnea. Fun, right?
As menopause occurs, women lose significant amounts of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that help to keep the airway open. As they decrease, a woman’s likeliness to develop sleep apnea increases. The muscle she once possessed is now lessened because of menopause, which can make it difficult to breathe at night. The throat no longer has enough muscle tone to remain open.
In addition to the loss of muscle tone, increase moodiness, and a never-ending cycle of clothing changes as a result of night sweats, menopausal women may also battle weight gain. This can lead to obesity and make living with sleep apnea even worse.
Menopausal women may also exhibit anxiety or depression, chronic fatigue, or even restless leg syndrome, all of which are symptoms of sleep apnea.
The Silver Lining: Treatment Options
Menopause alone is difficult for many women. Add sleep apnea into the mix, and you have a situation no one wants to experience. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about a treatment option.
To help you get better rest, your doctor may suggest oral appliance therapy. These reposition the jaw to keep your airway open. Customized to fit against your teeth comfortable, the appliance is adjusted to move the jaw forward just slightly. This will allow the right amount of pressure to be placed on the throat muscles, so they remain tense and keep your airway open and clear.
Don’t let this time of your life get the best of you. While you may not be able to help menopause, you can look for options to help with your sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor today to see what you can do to make life a bit easier with oral appliance therapy.
About the Author
Dr. Katie Montgomery graduated from Butler University with her Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. She then opted to pursue a Doctor of Dental Surgery from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, graduating in 2006. At Montgomery Family Dental, Dr. Montgomery and her team offer comfortable oral appliance therapy to help individuals struggling with sleep apnea. To find out how we can help you, visit our website or call (937) 642-1151.
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