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Rosacea and the menopause: Is there a link?

Sadly, it is well known that the exact cause of rosacea is unknown - but there are several factors that are believed to contribute to the development of the condition. One such factor that has recently gained attention is menopause.

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. During this time, the body experiences a significant decrease in the production of hormones, particularly estrogen. This hormonal shift can have a number of effects on the body, including changes in the skin.

Research has suggested that menopause may be a risk factor for the development or worsening of rosacea in some women. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that women who had undergone menopause were more likely to have rosacea than premenopausal women. Another study, published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, found that postmenopausal women with rosacea had higher levels of certain inflammatory markers than premenopausal women with the condition.

So why might menopause be linked to rosacea?

One theory is that the decrease in estrogen levels that occurs during menopause can lead to changes in the skin's barrier function. Estrogen has been shown to play a role in maintaining the health and integrity of the skin barrier, and its decline during menopause may lead to increased sensitivity and reactivity in the skin. This could make the skin more susceptible to irritation and inflammation, potentially triggering or worsening rosacea symptoms.

In addition to changes in the skin barrier, menopause can also lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that stress is a common trigger for rosacea flare-ups, so this may be another way in which menopause could contribute to the condition.

What can menopausal women do about rosacea

Women going through the menopause should pay closer attention to the general advice on managing rosacea - see this blog on the best steps to take.

In addition, it can be helpful to explore other solutions address changes in hormone levels, i.e. HRT. If you are able, support from a specialist women’s health doctor can be helpful as they will have a more focussed perspective on how to address menopause and the wider issues that it can cause.

In conclusion, while the link between menopause and rosacea is still being studied, there is evidence to suggest that women going through menopause may be at increased risk for the condition. If you are experiencing symptoms of rosacea during menopause, it's important to talk to your doctor or dermatologist to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. With the right care and management, it's possible to minimise the impact of rosacea and maintain healthy, radiant skin through menopause and beyond.

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