Tinnitus during pregnancy: how to explain it

Friday, 3rd February 2017

Tinnitus during pregnancy: how to explain it

Women require increased monitoring during pregnancy, particularly if they encounter little health concerns such as headaches, vision problems, or ringing in the ears. Because expectant mothers also experience tinnitus, which affects 15% of the population, and although its exact function hasn’t been determined, it would seem to be caused by muscular, vascular, or nerve problems. But what are the causes of ringing in the ears during pregnancy?


Tinnitus may be a symptom of various disorders


For pregnant women, as with anyone, ringing in the ears may be caused by earwax buildup, acoustic damage caused by repeated exposure to a high sound volume, a long-term medical treatment, cardiovascular disorders, bite problems, or – more rarely – more serious diseases such as Meniere's disease, otosclerosis, or a tumour in the ear. Although these causes aren’t the most common in expectant mothers, it’s necessary to consult a doctor about them anyway, since these symptoms are an additional source of stress.


It may be a sign of high blood pressure, which affects 5% of pregnant women


Some expectant mothers who suffer from tinnitus during their pregnancies already had high blood pressure before becoming pregnant. For others, it’s the first time that this phenomenon has occurred, sometimes accompanied by headaches, dizziness, or vision problems. These are usually signs of hypertension that can go unnoticed, hence the need to be extremely vigilant. The best treatment for this type of symptom is absolute rest in a lying position, possibly accompanied by hypotensors, depending on the decision of the doctor. Of course, a suitable healthy lifestyle is essential for reducing the risks of tinnitus, especially avoiding tobacco and stress and limiting your physical activity, which requires particular effort and helps increase the tension. If the symptoms persist despite treatment, it’s necessary to consider delivery, since the foetus can’t feed properly if the blood vessels in the placenta become blocked.


Progesterone may cause tinnitus in pregnant women


Expectant mothers may also suffer from ringing in the ears due to increased progesterone production. The body produces ten times as much of this particularly active hormone during pregnancy. These are signs telling the pregnant women that it’s time to take it easy and take care of herself by watching her diet, doing some exercise, and – above all – getting some rest. CDs of white noise or natural ambient noises such as waterfalls or birdsong can also help you stay calmer and reduce ringing in the ears.


Ringing in the ears may be a sign of preeclampsia


A common condition during pregnancy, preeclampsia is a disease characterized by a spike in blood pressure associated with an increase of protein in the urine and the occurrence of tinnitus. It affects around 5% of pregnant women, especially future mothers expecting their first child. While it’s responsible for one-third of very premature births, regular monitoring helps prevent serious complications in most cases.


Ringing in the ears is often a warning sign for pregnant women, who should interpret it as a warning and immediately get some rest. However, as is the case when any symptoms occur, especially in expectant mothers, the best thing to do if you experience tinnitus is to immediately consult a doctor, since it’s an additional source of stress. Even if, in most cases, tinnitus is only a symptom of mild disorders, it can sometimes be a sign of a serious illness that should be treated without delay.


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