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Do Your Joints Hurt During Menopause

Switch To Low Impact Exercise

How to find relief from Joint Pain during Menopause or PeriMenopause

Hips, knees, hands, shoulders, and fingers are among the most affected by menopausal joint pain. High-impact activities like running, playing tennis, or high-intensity interval training can make the pain in these areas worse. If youre accustomed to activities like these that may be worsening your joint pain, consider switching to low-impact exercises. For instance, stationary biking, walking, using the elliptical, swimming, or yoga.

Certain yoga poses may help relieve joint pain. Read our guide to the best poses for joint pain. If you take a class, arrive a few minutes early and let the instructor know about your concerns so s/he can help you make adjustments to place less stress on painful joints.

Staying active is a good idea, regardless, as it comes with many health benefits. If youre overweight or know that you have underlying osteoarthritis, getting regular exercise can be especially beneficial as excess weight can add extra stress to your joints.

Menopausal Joint Pain Relief Tips

If you are experiencing joint pain along with menopausal symptoms, there are a variety of methods and lifestyle changes that may reduce your pain and make managing your symptoms easier. Some of the simplest ways to ease your menopausal joint pain are:

Protein: Adding more protein into your diet can help you maintain muscle mass, which is vital to balance and bone support. Adults aged 60 and older should consume approximately 1.2 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of weight per day. For example, a 200-pound person over the age of 60 should aim to consume 108 grams of protein daily in order to maintain muscle mass and prevent joint pain.

Exercise: Regular exercise is a key component to any healthy lifestyle, no matter your age. Not only is it good for the health of your mind and heart, it can improve bone health too. Consistent exercise can help prevent your joints from becoming stiff and sore, though if this is a concern, be sure to stick to low-impact exercises such as swimming, biking, hiking, and yoga.

Diet: Increasing your protein intake isnt the only change you may need to make to your diet. Hot flashes can be prevented by eating smaller but more frequent meals that include fresh fruits and vegetables as well as foods full of calcium to increase bone health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can provide your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to endure the changes of menopause with minimal adverse side effects.

How Can A Holistic Approach Help Me With Menopausal Arthritis

One question we are often asked is, Does menopausal arthritis go away? Unfortunately there are some permanent changes brought about by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis but there is a lot you can do to limit their impact.

A holistic approach to medical issues takes into account both your mental and physical health, and recognises that your body is an interconnected system. In other words, what happens in one part of your body, including your mind, can have significant impact on another part. There are several approaches you can take that will help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.

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Can Menopause Cause Joint Pain

While aches and pains and joint stiffness are all inevitable as we age, as women approach menopause, typically between the age of 45 and 55, many are often surprised to discover that joint pain is one of the most common symptoms, alongside hot flushes, night sweats, period changes and mood swings.

The average age for menopause is between 45 and 55, so it is little wonder why many women put their aches and pains down to aging.

Joints which are involved in high impact movements such as the hips and knees tend to be most affected. The elbows, neck, shoulders, hands and fingers can also be affected by joint pain.

There are a number of causes of joint pain during menopause including:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Poor posture
  • Increased sensitivity to pain.

Below, I take a closer look at each of these causes and recommend ways to help prevent and treat joint pain during menopause.

Supplements For Menopause Joint Pain

Joint pain during menopause

Theres some scientific evidence that plant-based oestrogen helps reduce menopause symptoms, including joint pain. Its found in soy products. However, the safety, quality and purity of plant-based oestrogen products are not always known. Its best to speak with your doctor before taking them, especially given that they should not be used if you have had certain medical problems, such as breast cancer. Other natural supplements that are sometimes tried include wild yam, evening primrose oil and vitamin E. Again, studies havent shown that these work nor proven that they are safe. Its always best to speak with your doctor before taking complementary therapies for menopause symptoms.

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Diet Lifestyle And Home Remedies For Joint Pain

It is important to reduce the pressure of repetitive strain, such as jogging on hard roads, to protect your joints. At the same time though, keeping them flexible will reduce joint pain. Some exercises such as yoga and swimming are beneficial for strengthening your muscles and joints without exerting too much pressure on them.

Diet can have a positive influence on your joint health. Many fruit and vegetables have properties which reduce inflammation. Having a balanced diet is not only healthy and will help you with many menopause symptoms, but will keep your weight level correct. Being overweight will add extra stress onto your joints, increasing your problem.

Calcium is particularly important as it keeps your bones strong and healthy. As you are going through the menopause you may find a calcium supplement beneficial. However, for calcium to be absorbed into your bloodstream effectively, it is important to also have a high intake of magnesium, achieved by including nuts, wholegrains and dried fruit into your diet.

Alternatively, taking a calcium and magnesium supplement would provide some of the same benefits. Some women find that taking magnesium on its own is very effective, as it helps to relax tense muscles.

Alternative treatments such as massage or acupuncture help many women with their joint pain symptoms. They directly target the area of pain in order to ease the symptom.

Joint Pain And Menopause

Joint pain affects many people as they get older and is also common among menopausal women. Aches, stiffness and swelling around the joint and sometimes heat are typical symptoms of menopausal joint pain. These may be worse in the morning, improving as the day continues.

Joints which experience high impact such as the hips and knees tend to be most affected by this so called menopausal arthritis. Hands and fingers can also be affected. High impact exercise such as jogging can exacerbate the problem, although this is often eased with rest.

The hormone oestrogen has an important role in maintaining joint and bone health. It is not certain how it does this, but it is thought that it works by minimising swelling around the joint. As you reach the menopause, levels of oestrogen in your body begin to drop. This gives rise to common menopause symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats, and may also result in swollen and painful joints.

Dehydration can also cause joint pain because of a build up of uric acid which can cause inflammation in your joints. Oestrogen is also important for regulating fluid levels in your body, and with falling levels of the hormone, you find that your body is unable to retain water efficiently.

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Are There Herbal Remedies To Help Me

Some women might experience rheumatic type pains coming from the inside of a joint. This is where Devils Claw can help it has a similar effect to that of steroids, although without the steroidal compounds, so without the associated side effects. The herb is gentle to the body and may take up to 4 weeks to work its way into the body.

Recommendation from our health expert: Devils Claw is best taken after food. If your joint pain is troublesome, start off with a higher dose of Devils Claw. Take two tablets twice daily of Joint Pain Relief for 3 to 5 days, then 1 tablet twice daily.

Here Are My Top Tips That Helped Me

Easy stretches for aching joints at menopause with Jane Dowling of Meno & Me

1. Drink More Water

It seems so many articles tell us to drink water, like a simple change can make a difference! But the truth is, it can! Its difficult with busy lifestyles in between work, dropping the kids off to school and going to the gym to always remember to drink plenty of water. The truth is if youre dehydrated, uric acid builds up in the system and leads to inflammation.

2. Calcium

Calcium, magnesium & vitamin D are important for keeping bones healthy. You should be able to get enough from your diet, but if you restrict certain items you might want to have a think about re-introducing them or supplementing if you cant. Foods high in calcium & magnesium include dairy products, green leafy vegetables & nuts. Foods high in vitamin D include oily fish, red meat, egg yolk etc.

Fun fact: if you place mushrooms outside in the sun , it increases its vitamin d amount substantially. A university study found that exposing white button mushrooms to UV-light for just 1 second increased vitamin D amounts from the essential amount required to 824% of your daily value.

3. Take anti-inflammatory Herbal Supplements

I started taking CBD for my menopause symptoms and soon realised it also helped my inflammation to the extent I could finally forget the pain and get a good night sleep! To find out more about CBD oil for menopause visit our dedicated article here.

4. Vitamin B6

5. HRT

Adele, Your Feminapause Team xx

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Why Do We Get Joint Pain From Menopause

One reason menopause impacts the joints is these changing hormone levels. There are estrogen receptors in your joints estrogen protects bones and helps keep joint inflammation low. As estrogen levels decline during perimenopause , the joints can swell and become painful.

Another contributing factor is osteoporosis. Decreasing estrogen levels also contribute to loss of bone density. This puts menopausal women at higher risk for osteoporosis, a condition in which reduced bone mass makes the bones weak and brittle.

Unfortunately, it isnt just arthralgia that menopausal women have to worry about. Estrogen fluctuations, as previously mentioned, increase joint inflammation. This can result in menopause-related osteoarthritis. And, those who go through early menopause are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Fun !

These conditions are complicated and varied, so its important to make an appointment with an expert to discuss your concerns and treatment options. As a leading expert in my field, Ive helped many people through the trying time that is menopause. I dont just support womens health my objective is to support my patients overall wellbeing.

Low Estrogen Can Lead To Bone On Bone In Hips In Knees

In one research paper, investigators published findings in the journal Ultrasound in medicine and biology suggesting there is little question that estrogen deficiency can accelerate a bone on bone condition.

In this animal study, the researchers looked at rapid, spontaneous degeneration of cartilage in the joints of female rats who had their ovaries removed and, as such, the impact of the resulting low-estrogen levels.

At three weeks after ovary removal, the articular cartilage in the female rats knees lost significant thickness.

The researchers concluded that estrogen depletion induces cartilage loss and joint deterioration in the hip and knee pretty rapidly.

This same team of researchers did not stop there. In a later they expanded their work to include what is happening to the bone in these animal joints. In the journal BioMed research international, they published results that suggested that estrogen deficiency causes significant cartilage breakdown but not significant bone breakdown in the early stages of estrogen deficiency induced osteoarthritis.

What this means is that early treatment that enhances and repairs the cartilage will protect joints from bone spurs. As we know, many women go to joint replacement because of overgrowth of bone in the joints, bone spurs.

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Not Just Hot Flashesjoint Pain During Menopause

Among the many symptoms of menopause, an underlooked one is joint pain.

Women in menopause transition and actual menopause often have more pervasive complaints: hot flashes and night sweats as well as pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.

In addition, however, a significant segment of this population also experiences increased pain in joints like ankles and hips as well as back pain. Aches, stiffness and swelling around the joint and sometimes heat are typical symptoms of menopausal joint pain. These may be worse in the morning, improving as the day continues.

Why?

The presence of estrogen protects joints and as estrogen decreases in the body, it can contribute to some of this discomfort.

Prevention and Treatment:

Talk to us as you traverse the transition into menopause so we can help craft safe solutions to your everyday pain.

What Lifestyle Changes Can Help

Do This

Exercise and sleep are both very important. It helps to keep the joints mobile, keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. Menopause and Osteoporosis is unfortunately very common. Menopausal aged women should try to do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.

Some suggestions for exercise when you have stiff joints are:

  • Brisk walking as part of a daily routine can help to maintain bone and joint health.
  • Swimming because it’s low impact and can help if your joint pain makes running and walking difficult.
  • Yoga can help increase strength, flexibility, improve joint mobilisation and prevent osteoporosis.
  • Cycling can also be a good way to get in aerobic exercise, without having too much impact on aching joints!

Diet is also very important for bone health – in particular eating enough Calcium and vitamin D.

  • Calcium can be found in dairy products, and leafy green veg.
  • Vitamin D can be found in oily fish and eggs, and is also made when the body is outside and getting enough exposure to the sun.

Take a look at our ‘Nutrition during your menopause’ article to ensure you are eating well during this time.

Do supplements help?

Evidence for supplements is a real mixed bag. There is one standout that’s got a good evidence base and is important for bone and joint health – vitamin D.

Are there any medical treatments?

There are prescription and over the counter products that can help reduce joint pain.

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The Problem: Dry Calloused Skin

Does the skin on your heels look like a cracked earth landscape? Welcome to menopause, where plummeting estrogen levels impact the bodys ability to retain moistureresulting in parched skin, including on the feet. This dryness can have two effects: 1) Thickening skin around the heels can lead to fissures, painful cracks that can bleed or get infected, says Marlene Reid, DPM, a podiatric surgeon at Family Podiatry Center in Naperville, Illinois. And 2) Existing callusesareas of hard, built-up skinworsen. Per a recent study, calluses are one of the most frequent causes of foot pain in older adults.

Connection Between Menopause And Joint Pain

While joint pain is a common side effect of aging, is it also a symptom of menopause? Stiff joints that are swollen or even warm to the touch may be caused by changing hormone levels, though some medical professionals believe that this pain is not a direct result of menopause. Rather, the lower estrogen levels associated with menopause can increase the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in women over 50, resulting in the joint pain that is being attributed to menopause itself.

Osteoporosis is the thinning of the bones and can be accelerated by the lower levels of estrogen seen in menopause. Thin and brittle bones put women at risk for developing osteoarthritis, which is characterized by swollen and painful joints. While there may not be a physical link between menopause and joint pain, they often occur around the same time and symptoms of menopause may put women at risk for developing conditions that can cause joint pain.

Another factor of joint pain in menopause is dehydration. When the body is dehydrated then uric acid can accumulate, which triggers inflammation in the joints. Because estrogen is a key player in fluid regulation it also plays a role in your dehydration levels. You see, when estrogen levels drop, so does the bodys ability to hold on to the fluid.

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Why Does Menopause Cause Joint Pain

When joint pain is linked to menopause, the decrease in the hormones estrogen and progesterone have been associated with this symptom. Estrogen is the bodys natural anti-inflammatory agent for joints and when the levels drop, so does the likelihood of experiencing joint pain. This is particularly true for joints that have experienced a high amount of wear and tear, injury, or pathology such as arthritis.

Causes Of Pain During Menopause

Does menopause affect your muscles?

The climacteric period is a grandiose restructuring of the female body. The gradual shutdown of the function of childbearing is accompanied by changes in all organs and systems. This is manifested by unusual and sometimes not the most pleasant sensations, including the pain of different localization, strength, and duration .

The root cause of all types of pain with menopause is a sharp change in hormonal status. The decrease, and then the cessation of secretion of estrogen and progesterone, is reflected not only in the state and functions of the reproductive system. Sex hormone cells are present in various tissues and organs. Therefore, estrogen deficiency during and after menopause leads to changes in the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine systems, affects metabolism, the emotional and psychological sphere, etc. With menopause women are most often concerned about abdominal pain, lower back pain, perineum, headaches, menopause muscle pain, and bone pains. They are quite intense and often reduce the quality of life, especially if combined with other symptoms of the change.

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