Menopause and Joint Pain
Menopause is a natural process that a woman goes through as part of aging. Most women experience early symptoms of menopause (so-called perimenopause) in their mid-40s to early 50s. Although this is natural and every woman goes through this not many are aware of some of the symptoms that they may experience.
Some women will experience more severe menopause symptoms than others. Among the common symptoms are night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, joint pain, and more.
Joint pain symptoms can become very uncomfortable and in some cases even affect a normal daily routine.
Often joint pain can affect the knees, shoulders, neck, elbows, or hands. Some have also reported old joint injuries began to ache. Luckily, there are methods and options that can be explored to help minimize the symptoms.
During menopause, the body experiences a decrease in oestrogen and testosterone levels. Most joints are made up of components which contain oestrogen receptors and these become affected by this decrease in oestrogen, often resulting in muscle loss and weight gain.
According to The Menopause Charity “Oestrogen protects joints and reduces inflammation, but when estrogen levels drop, inflammation can increase, the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis can go up and make it painful to move freely.”
As the joints are no longer protected as much as they were pre-menopause, women may notice swelling of their hands and feet, as well as, stiffness and reduced movement in knees, elbows, and neck joints.
It is worth noting that it is also normal to experience general joint pains as a woman gets older, so in some cases, it may feel like menopause when it’s just a natural process of aging.
In any case, it is advisable to consult with a GP or healthcare professional regarding any joint pain symptoms.
More commonly seen in women than men is something called Osteoarthritis, which is a progressive joint disease. It is caused by inflammation and stiffness in joints.
Although Osteoarthritis is more common from general aging due to wear and tear of joints, menopause has been seen to be associated with the progression of this too.
There are a few treatment options that are able to reduce symptoms of joint pains such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), ERT, natural supplements, and practices.
It is highly recommended to consult with a GP or healthcare professional before looking at trying any of the suggested methods. Every woman’s body may not only experience certain symptoms more severely than others, but their body may also react to different treatments differently.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Hormone replacement therapy is designed to treat severe symptoms of menopause. It specifically has been shown to reduce the symptoms and progression of osteoarthritis during menopause.
Before looking into this treatment option you should consult with a GP or healthcare professional as not every woman is a suitable candidate for undertaking this therapy.
For example, if there is a history of breast cancer, liver disease, or blood clots, a healthcare professional may not advise this therapy treatment. There are also different types of HRT available which differ in hormones, treatment plans, and ways of taking it, which a healthcare professional will help you to understand further.
If this treatment is not a suitable option, exploring self-care and supplements can be suitable. Although, it's worth noting that self-care should not be forgotten when undergoing HRT.
Ginger & turmeric
Turmeric and ginger are popular Indian and Chinese spices that have been used over generations to reduce inflammations and joint pain, as well as to help to promote overall body health.
These will help to restore some of the missing nutrients in your body, which can help to lessen joint pain symptoms.
There are a lot of natural supplement options available in-store or online. When looking for the right supplement to purchase, look out for the brands which list their dosages clearly labelled in the ingredients list. The standard dose that will help to see benefits is 500 mg daily (twice a day).