What Can I Do?
The good news is there are several things you can do to help protect your vocal chords from the effects of diminishing estrogen.
Apparently acidic foods can exacerbate the problem so it might be worth avoiding spicy foods, white wine, citrus and tomatoes. There goes my Friday night takeaway and glass of wine!
Dark chocolate and older red wines are OK – unless like me you suffer from migraine triggered by these things! And surprise, surprise, drinking more water will almost certainly help. Most of us don't drink enough water and it helps to maintain the level of all body fluids helping digestion, circulation, transportation of nutrients and even to maintain body temperature. It also keeps your skin looking at its best and helps maintain normal bowel function.
Water also helps prevent muscle fatigue – and more efficiently working muscles will help the voice fatigue issue. The old adage of eight glasses a day is a bit of a myth apparently – any fluid (apart from alcohol) will help and of course most foods have some fluid content as well.
HRT (hormone replacement therapy) may also help. Speak to your doctor if you feel this is the path you want to go down, as there is huge choice of medications available delivered in a number of ways.
Pay your dentist a visit too. Decreased estrogen can affect your teeth and the bones under your gums making tooth movement and loss much more likely during menopause. If you lose teeth your cheeks start to cave in, which can also affect the way you speak.
I know it all sounds a bit grim but don't panic especially if, like me, you haven't noticed any changes to your voice. Apparently most women don't even mention menopausal voice syndrome (to give it its proper name) to their doctors – either they haven't really noticed any changes or maybe compared to hot flushes, heart palpitations and vaginal dryness, which are the most commonly reported symptoms, voice changes seem minor.
If all else fails and you notice a new depth to your tone you can always console yourself with the idea that some people find a husky deep voice very sexy – it certainly didn't do Marlene Dietrich, Eartha Kitt or Shirley Bassey any harm!