Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic, Sandyford, Dublin, D18 E7P4 l Tel: +353 1 213 5644

Navigating the Night: Menopause, Sleep Apnea, and Women’s Health

At the Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic, we understand that sleep apnea has long been considered a “male issue.” While it’s true that men generally have a higher instance of sleep apnea, research highlights a crucial shift as women enter and progress through menopause. In this blog, we explore the intersection of menopause and sleep apnea, shedding light on the increasing risk women face and the shared symptoms that often blur the lines between these two significant health concerns.

Menopause Unveiled: Menopause marks a transformative phase in a woman’s life, signaling the end of fertility when the ovaries cease to produce key hormones, estrogen and progesterone. The onset typically occurs around the age of 51, though variations exist. The symptoms of menopause are diverse, ranging from irregular periods and hot flashes to mood changes and decreased libido. Interestingly, menopausal women also frequently report disruptions in sleep, with up to 61% experiencing insomnia symptoms.

Understanding Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects millions of men & women across the world, characterised by shallow breathing or complete pauses in breathing during sleep. Menopause introduces a new layer of complexity, as symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, snoring, and insomnia can overlap with those of sleep apnea. Ignoring these shared symptoms could lead to a dangerous assumption that may jeopardise a woman’s overall health.

Shared Symptoms: The symptoms of menopause and sleep apnea often intertwine, creating a challenge in distinguishing between the two. Recognising these shared symptoms is crucial for accurate diagnosis and timely intervention. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Hot flashes or flushes
  2. Night sweats
  3. Insomnia
  4. Snoring
  5. Daytime sleepiness
  6. Fatigue
  7. Mood changes or swings
  8. Depression
  9. Poor concentration
  10. Short-term memory loss/Forgetfulness
  11. Joint or muscle pain
  12. Episodes of gasping or choking awake

The Link Between Menopause and Sleep Apnea: Biologically, estrogen and progesterone play a pivotal role in regulating libido, weight, and maintaining the integrity of the airway muscles. As menopause progresses, hormonal levels decline, leading to an increased likelihood of sleep apnea. A 2008 study demonstrated a significant rise in the prevalence of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea as women transitioned from perimenopause to menopause.

Seeking Help: If you suspect that some of your menopausal symptoms may be indicative of sleep apnea, it’s crucial to consult your GP for a referral for an assessment. At Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic, we emphasise the importance of seeking professional guidance and dianosis. For clients who are referred to the Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic for Oral Appliance therapy, we can provide a tailored treatment plan to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms promoting your overall health and wellbeing. 

Conclusion: Navigating the complexities of menopause and sleep apnea requires awareness, proactive healthcare, and personalized solutions. At Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic, we invite you to explore our website (www.app-nea.com) to learn more about sleep apnea and available treatment options. Together, we can empower women to reclaim restful nights, prioritize their well-being, and face menopause with confidence.

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