Are you experiencing a dry mouth in perimenopause? Dry mouth syndrome (Xerostomia) is one of the less common symptoms of menopause but can be a significant problem for some women and can happen occasionally to anyone.
Prior to perimenopause, salivary cortisol is regulated throughout the day by estrogen. However, due to declining estrogen in perimenopause and postmenopause this hormone weakens resulting in dryness.
A dry mouth can be accompanied by a bitter taste, as well as problems with bad breath. This is because the mucus membranes dry out. This can also cause dryness in both the nasal passages, vagina and eyes.
- A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
- Frequent thirst
- Sores in the mouth, sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth, cracked lips
- Dry, red, raw tongue
- Problems speaking or difficulty tasting, chewing and swallowing
- Hoarseness, dry nasal passages, sore throat
- Bad breath
- Oral health problems
Some women complain of burning in the mouth due to the nerve endings becoming more sensitive.
Saliva does more than just keep the mouth wet:-
- Helps to digest food
- Protects teeth from decay
- Prevents infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth
- Makes it possible for you to chew and swallow
Tips for Avoiding Dry Mouth Perimenopause / Postmenopause
- Stay hydrated
- Sip water and sugarless drinks
- Avoid drinks with caffeine
- Chew sugarless gum or sick on sugarless hard sweets to stimulate saliva flow
- Be aware that eating overly spicy or salty foods while experiencing dry mouth can be painful
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol
- Eat fruit rich in water content
- A room vapouriser will add moisture to the bedroom air
- Over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute
Oral rinse to restore moisture
Drugs known as Sialogogues to stimulate saliva production
Some women respond to HRT, however, progesterone can cause a mouth to become dry again.
Other Known Causes of Xerostomia
Medication – there are more than 1,800 drugs known to cause dry mouth; anti-depressants, antispasmodics, morphine, some ulcer prevention tablets, some antihistamines to name but a few.
Sjogren’s Syndrome – an autoimmune disorder. The body’s immune system attacks glands that secrete fluid such as tear and saliva glands.
Experiencing dry mouth symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a salivary hypofunction (a reduced flow of saliva). If asked to spit into a pot many women would have plenty of saliva – instead it is the quality of the saliva that’s altered. If you are actually lacking in saliva, there is an impact on the teeth and the lining of the mouth.
Whatever the cause, if your mouth feels dry visit your dentist who are trained to recognise the signs and will check your saliva levels.
Treatment of Drug-Induced Xerostomia. Retrieved from http://www.drymouth.info/practitioner/treatment.asp
Sjogren’s Syndrome. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Sjogrens-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Dry Eyes and Sjogren’s Syndrome. Retrieved from http://www.drnorthrup.com/dry-eyes-and-sjogrens-syndrome/
Farzaneh Agha-Hosseini, Iraj Mirzaii-Dizgah, Narges Mirjalili (15 July 2010) Relationship of stimulated whole saliva cortisol level with the severity of a feeling of dry mouth in menopausal women. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741-2358.2010.00403.x/full