Joint pain seems to be part of the parcel of ‘getting older’. It’s an easy symptom to dismiss as a fact of ‘ageing’ and something that is often implied that you must simply ‘put up with’.
Did you know that anywhere from 28-40% of menopausal and peri-menopausal women experience joints pains due to hormonal changes (1, 2)?
Whilst the exact physiological reason for this relationship is currently unknown, there are numerous theories around the hormonal influence.
At the Australian Menopause Centre, we believe:
- Progesterone has a great anti-inflammatory action. The reduction of progesterone that comes with peri-menopause and menopause often means a reduction of these anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Too much Oestrogen (often seen in peri-menopause) can result in fluid retention – not only in the breasts, but also in the joints. Too much fluid can cause joint distention, swelling and thus pain.
- Progesterone can act like a diuretic. Too much fluid in the joints can result in joint distention and swelling. A reduction in progesterone (seen in peri-menopause and menopause) can mean that you lose the fluid releasing action you used to get on a month basis.
- Not enough Oestrogen (often seen in menopause) may play a role in insufficient joint lubrication. Lack of lubrication can mean stiff, achy, painful joints.
- Oestrogen is also believed to have an anti-inflammatory benefit. Not enough oestrogen may result in a reduction of your baseline anti-inflammatory benefits.
As you can see, hormones are complex (understatement of the century). But the important part to keep in mind is that joint pains brought on by hormonal changes may be improved with hormonal adjustments.
For us, the best way for treating joints pains revolves around looking at the individual picture, menstrual history, and accompanying symptoms before deciding treatment direction.
If your joints pains are bothering you, contact us to see how we can help.
If hormones are not the cause, fish oil, turmeric or other great naturopathic options are available. Speak to one of our Naturopaths to find out what is suitable for you.
- Islam RM, Bell RJ, Billah B, Hossain MB, Davis SR. Prevalence and severity of vasomotor symptoms and joint pain in women at midlife in Bangladesh: a population-based survey. Menopause. 2016.
- Nisar N, Sikandar R, Sohoo NA. Menopausal symptoms: prevalence, severity and correlation with sociodemographic and reproductive characteristics. A cross sectional community based survey from rural Sindh Pakistan. JPMA The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association. 2015;65(4):409-13.