If you’ve ever had dry mouth, you know how uncomfortable it can be. No matter how much water you drink, it always comes back, and it makes both talking and eating laborious tasks. Dry mouth is a common symptom of many conditions, but one of the most common is menopause. Many women who are going through menopause struggle with dry mouth. Though finding a permanent solution can be difficult, a recent study actually defined the root of the problem, which could make treatment easier from a physician’s perspective.
The study showed that women who were going through menopause often had dry mouth because of the elevated levels of salivary cortisol. There is cortisol in everyone’s saliva, but the amount is regulated throughout the day. The rise in cortisol is a result of the increased and altered levels of hormones in the body as menstruation ceases.
Though there is no quick fix for this problem, you should talk to your doctor about treatments for increased cortisol that are safe during menopause as these could solve the dry mouth problem. He or she might have recommendations for medicated treatments to increase saliva production. Until then, there are a few home remedies you can try.
Chewing gum is a great way to combat dry mouth because the chewing motion increases saliva production in the mouth as your body gets ready to break down food. Also, eating waterlogged food such as celery or lettuce is a great way to get the glands working. Of course, staying hydrated is extremely important and cutting down on dehydrating liquids such as coffee and alcohol will help a lot. Make sure you are extra diligent with your dental hygiene when you have dry mouth because the lack of saliva production will leave your teeth prone to decay and cavities.
If you’re struggling with dry mouth as you enter menopause, know that you’re not alone. It’s a common problem, and the severity might actually fluctuate as your hormone levels rise and fall. Talk to your doctor about treatments that might address the cortisone levels and try a few home remedies in the meantime.
– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.