New research suggests that estrogen loss during menopause may increase jaw pain.
A temporomandibular disorder can cause pain in the jaw, or TMD, affecting close to 5 percent of U.S. adults, or roughly 12 million people.
Some estimate that as many as 15 percent of U.S. adults, however, have at least one symptom of the condition, the second most common type of musculoskeletal pain. Low back pain is the first.
Women, however, are more than twice as likely as men to have TMD, which has led some experts to believe that hormone changes could play a role.
A new study conducted by researchers in Brazil looked to see if the stages of menopause impacted the intensity of TMD-related pain. Although limited, previous work has found symptoms are more common and severe in premenopausal women than postmenopausal women.
The research team found that TMD-related pain and menopause symptoms like hot flashes are primarily associated with late menopause and ease with age and the progression through post-menopause.
More work is needed to establish a clear link between TMD symptoms and menopause. Studies are also needed to figure out why such a link exists.
If you’re experiencing jaw pain and going through menopause, these results suggest that it may be worthwhile to treat with over-the-counter pain medications and wait it out. The results seem to suggest that pain will lessen with time.
There are also various stretches and movements you can do to try and reduce pain. These movements may help to relax the jaw.
Other methods that may offer relief include wearing a night guard during sleep, warm towels, and stress-relieving activities like meditation§.