Hormones play a major role in a woman’s bone and joint health, and it is a common symptom of menopause. It is noticeable from perimenopause onwards, often starting around the age of 45, as the body goes through drastic hormonal fluctuations.
This imbalance is behind many menopause symptoms and although doctors are still unclear exactly how hormones affect joints, it seems as both oestrogen and progesterone levels begin to drop during perimenopause that increased pain often is the result.
Hormones and pain relief
There are different types of joint pain but most are caused by inflammation so if your mornings begin with stiffness, pain and swollen joints, you may be experiencing symptoms of osteo or rheumatoid arthritis.
One of the key actions of progesterone is to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body so supplementing with it is important as inflammation is a leading cause of joint pain.
However as pain is also linked to declining oestrogen levels it can be more helpful to use a combination cream containing both progesterone and oestrogen, unless you have many symptoms of oestrogen dominance.
Factors that can cause joint pain:
There are of course other factors besides menopause that can affect your joints, so if you are menopausal and also have some of these then that can make the condition worse.
• Wear and tear
• Weight – both being overweight or underweight through dieting
• Lack of exercise
• Muscle loss
• Inflammation of the joint
• Metabolic Disorders
• Bone Diseases
• Tumours and Cancer
When to see a doctor
You can easily distinguish if you need self-help, or need to talk to your doctor about your joint pains, if you have any of these signs:
* If joint pain lasts for more than three days
* If it moves from the joint the pain started
in to other joints, or worsens
* If your pain is also accompanied by a fever
* If you are progressively losing weight since having the joint pain
Joint Pain and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is seen more frequently at menopause but rarely shows as actual pain, it is seen m,ore in the increase in the fragility of the bones and how easily they break.
Bone loss is most rapid in the first few years after menopause, but continues into the postmenopausal years and supplemental bioidentical progesterone is essential for bone building so so if you are oestrogen dominant then this would be a good way to protect your bones.
When joints are painful the last thing you may feel like doing is exercise, but gentle, low-impact exercise can be very helpful. As well as being healthy, it can help you regulate your weight – an important factor in keeping pain at bay.
There are also some simple nutritional steps you can take to minimise or prevent pain:
* Eat foods rich in antioxidants to help reduce tissue damage from inflammation
* Get enough omega-3 fatty acids provided in oily fish , walnuts and freshly ground flaxseed to help reduce the inflammation and pain of arthritis
* Regularly use ginger and turmeric in cooking and/or supplements for their natural anti-inflammatory properties