The Search For Reliable Information
The problem for me was that I couldnt find anything that helped me to decide on what might help. I thought HRT wasnt an option for me because of the migraines and looking for alternatives was fraught with marketing claim and counter claim, hearsay and opinion.
I scoured bookshop shelves for information that was sensible, informed and accessible. There were books on womens health that included it as a section usually a short and not very detailed section. One had a bibliography, there were rarely any references. In magazines and on web forums there were people enthusing about wild yams, black cohosh and red clover. In health food shops I felt like I was a marketing persons dream slightly desperate, willing to try anything and unable to discriminate.
Cochrane is a source of reliable, evidence-based information
Issue : Fluid Imbalance
Now, number two cause is fluid imbalance. We know that falling oestrogen can interfere with the hormones that control the water balance in the body, which means you can get dehydrated absolutely anywhere as you go through the menopause and very often, you’re not even aware of this particular problem.
So low oestrogen causes it. Very few people are drinking enough water in this day and age, it’s all tea, and coffee, and fizzy drinks, and fruit juices. It can also be the fact that you’re getting hot flushes and night sweats. That would dehydrate you as well, and that will interfere with your whole water balance.
Menopause And Joint Pain: What Is The Connection
Joint pain often occurs at the same time as menopause and it affects many women. While there is no clear reason for these achy and swollen joints, some doctors believe it may be due to falling estrogen levels. Estrogen is thought to protect joints and reduce inflammation, and when these levels drop during menopause, inflammation can increase or cause joint pain.
To learn what menopausal joint pain feels like, what the connection between menopause and joint pain is, and how to relieve menopausal joint pain, continue reading.
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Menopause Leg Cramps It Could Be A Magnesium Deficiency
Muscle cramps before bed can be a nightmare, and they can appear as a result of the menopause process. This can also manifest itself as pins and needles.
As with RLS, menopause leg cramps often point towards a magnesium deficiency. Crucial for muscle relaxation, many menopausal women lack this important nutrient falling oestrogen levels can affect how efficiently our bodies take it up.
As well as being implicated in leg cramps, a lack of magnesium can be linked to digestive troubles.
Hormonal fluctuations can also cause the stress hormone cortisol to increase, with the added tension adding to the potential for muscle cramps. This anxiety is not only bad news for your lower extremities, of course stress leaves our stomach in knots and can result in digestive problems.
So, as well as keeping your stress levels in check, consider incorporating some of these high-in-magnesium foods
- Green leafy vegetables
- Dairy products.
For these menopause leg cramps, the application of a magnesium spray can also provide some short-term relief. A nice, warm bath or shower can also sooth the muscles.
Eat Foods That Can Help To Ease Joint Pain
Your diet is really important when it comes to your joints because what you eat can impact how your joints feel. While some foods can trigger joint pain or make it worse, others can have a positive influence on your joint health.
Reducing inflammation is a key part of reducing joint pain and improving overall joint health.
Some of the most beneficial anti-inflammatory foods include:
- Omega-3-rich foods â these contain oils which have a positive effect on inflammation â examples include oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon and tuna. Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and soybeans are also rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
- Antioxidant-rich foods â chemicals called anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. You can find them in brightly coloured fruit and vegetables such as cherries, raspberries, blueberries and broccoli.
- Other anti-inflammatory foods Many fruit and vegetables have properties which reduce inflammation so try and keep to a healthy diet with lots of fresh food such as pineapple, apples, avocados and mushrooms. Other foods which can help include virgin olive oil, coconut oil, dark chocolate and spices such as ginger.
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Leg Pain: 3 Hidden Causes
Leg pain is a common symptom in a lot of people, and while most of the time it can be attributed to a cramp, muscular stiffness, or as the result of an injury, sometimes there are other, less obvious causes. While self-diagnosis is not a good idea if leg pain persists and there is no clear or reasonable explanation, it could be that there is an underlying problem that requires medical attention. Read on below to find out about a few of the potential hidden causes of leg pain.
What Causes Fatigue During Menopause
Like so many symptoms, menopausal fatigue is due in a large part to hormone changes and the downstream effects.
The levels of estrogen and progesterone are changing all at once and these interact with the endocrine hormones associated with energy from the adrenal and thyroid. This instability can be hard for the body and can lead to crushing fatigue.
Your brain has a lot of estrogen receptors, and when estrogen declines, so does some of the regulation that it provides. For example, estrogen helps control cortisol, the stress hormone. When that regulation is weakened, the increased stress response can result in crushing fatigue.
And feeling tired goes hand-in-hand with another common perimenopausal symptomtrouble sleeping. When youre waking up frequently at night or have trouble falling asleep, its little wonder that the next day you feel drained.
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What Can Women Expect Before Starting Menopause
Before officially starting menopause, most women will first enter a transitional phase commonly referred to as perimenopause. This point in her life will be characterized by lighter periods and a decrease in estrogen production. While this may seem distressing to many women, it is quite normal and should serve as a clarion call to let them know that even bigger changes are on the way.
Breast Pain In Menopause
The breast pain menopause sometimes brings with it happens when hormonal fluctuations cause fluid to build up in the breasts, making them swollen, tender and painful.
Its the same thing women with PMS experience in the lead up to their period, but it can become more marked in peri-menopause because your hormonal shifts become more dramatic. Your breasts may also change in size or shape around this time.
You shouldnt experience breast pain after youve stopped having periods completely, but it sometimes continues in women who take HRT.
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Common Symptoms And Natural Pain Relief Solutions For Menopausal Arthritis
Hormonal changes around the time of the menopause can cause a range of physical and mental problems. Some of these, including hot flushes and night sweats, are well known but you may not be aware of the connection between the menopause and joint pain. If your joints ache more than usual, and you are between the ages of 45 and 55, it is possible that you are suffering from menopausal arthritis.
Changes To Diet And Weight
If you experience weight gain as you go through menopause, you wont be alone. It isnt clear whether it is lifestyle factors or hormonal changes that make it harder to keep weight off at this time of life but many women do find it to be an issue.
Unfortunately weight gain can be a factor in menopause joint pain fatigue, particularly with regard to the knees and hips. Carrying extra weight can put a huge amount of additional pressure on these joints, and be a contributory factor to menopausal arthritis.
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Triggers Of Muscle Weakness
Some risk factors may make women more susceptible to muscle weakness triggers, on the other hand, are factors that immediately provoke a feeling of pain, tension, or weakness. Avoiding these triggers as much as possible can help prevent or reduce muscle soreness.
Keep reading to learn more about the signs and symptoms of muscle weakness in order to know what treatment would be best depending on the cause.
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Leg Problems Caused By Fluid Imbalance
So what’s likely to happen in this instance is you’re likely to get swollen ankles, swollen legs. You can get achy tired legs. This can be a contributory factor to hot feet and general dehydration, just as a little aside it’s not to do with the legs, but general dehydration can also cause breast pain as well, so for this particular one, make sure that you’re drinking more than enough water, over and above anything else you’re drinking during the day as well.
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Leg Pain And Stiffness
You can get leg muscle aches and pains and joint aches and pains, and you can get a lot of stiffness as well. And very often, these all tend to come together.
The reason this can happen is, first of all, our big joints such as our hips and our knees, these are high impact joints. They are being used all the time, and we put a lot of our weight on these joints. And very often, these are the ones that start to show pain and discomfort first.
But you can get joint and muscle aches and pains basically anywhere and a lot of other joints can be affected. Some women say it often feels like the day after they’ve had a really hard session at the gym. There’s nothing specific that you can pinpoint but you just feel really achy and very uncomfortable or in pain, too.
What can happen, too, is that the joint pain and stiffness, if it keeps up, it can pull on other muscles and joints so your whole posture can end up getting out of line.
A number of years ago, I was gobsmacked to find out that if you have pain in your feet, that can sometimes be caused by the fact that your lower back is out of line.
So, if we allow these aches and pains to continue, then very often, it can put more and more strain on other areas of our body and then everything else gets that more difficult to resolve and treat.
When To Get Help For Your Fatigue
There are other issues that could be causing or contributing to your fatigue, such as thyroid problems, autoimmune disorders like arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, or heart conditions. If fatigue is extreme, a recent onset, or generally disrupting your day-to-day life, check with a doctor to identify and treat all the factors.
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The Fix For Bunions With Bursitis
Some people with bunions also get diagnosed with a co-existing condition called bursitis, in which the fluid-filled sacs that cushion and surround the big toe joint become inflamed. Ask your doc about cortisone injections, which can be helpful for acute inflammation but are not recommended as an ongoing treatment, nor should they be injected directly into the joint. Newer literature now shows that cortisone increases the progression of arthritis, Dr. Reid says.
What Is Perimenopause
Perimenopause means “around menopause.” It is also known as a transitional phase because it occurs several years before menopause. During this time, a woman’s body produces less estrogen, becomes less fertile and experiences irregular menstrual periods.
Menopause, on the other hand, is a time when a woman has not had a menstrual cycle for 12 months straight. During this phase, ovulation stops and levels of estrogen drop. Menopause officially indicates the end of the female reproductive phase.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Since dehydration can have such a negative impact on your joints, one of the first things you should do if you experience joint pain is to make sure you are drinking enough water. You should be looking to drink around 1.5-2 litres of plain water every day, over and above other drinks, such as coffee and tea.
If your joints are sore or creaky first thing then ease off as the day goes on, it may mean that you are really dehydrated during the night, so make sure that you drink a small glass of plain water about an hour before bed â this is really important if you are getting night sweats as these will dehydrate you further.
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What Is Menopausal Arthritis
The hormone Estrogen is important to maintain the health of bone and joints as well as brain, heart and skin. Estrogen receptors are found on human joint cartilage. The anti- inflammatory effects of estrogen are protective for the joint and cartilage. Estrogen also helps in bone building.
Typically women attain menopause between 45-55 years of age. Menopause causes reduction in the levels of estrogen hormone causing adverse effects on bone and joints. Joint pain is one of the more common menopause symptoms and it can be debilitating as it reduces mobility and flexibility. Thinning of bones, also called ‘Osteporosis’ is a common cause of weakness of bones leading to fractures especially in menopausal women.
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Leg Problems Caused By Magnesium Deficiency
The types of symptoms you’ll get with magnesium deficiency would be things like cramps, especially at night. You’ll get those restless legs, you know, there you are just dropping off to sleep and suddenly, your legs are dancing all on their own. It can be really painful, and it can take a long time to settle down. You can get pins and needles, and you can get jumpy legs as well.
Oestrogen And Pain Sensitivity
The bottom line is, menopause changes the way we feel pain, whether you are dealing with long term conditions or new problems. Your changing hormone levels during perimenopause and beyond are to blame, as explained in Why your hormonal changes are making your body ache.
Quite simply, the brains centre for pain acts efficiently in response to pain when oestrogen levels are high. Endorphins and enkephalins are released, which are sometimes described as the bodys painkillers, and they naturally help to reduce the amount of pain we experience.
As oestrogen decreases, we feel pain more intensely. Interestingly, even women who take hormone replacement therapy can still notice an increased sensitivity to pain, so there is no simple fix for this frustrating symptom.
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Are You Sleeping Easy Or Counting Sheep
We all need sleep. The optimum amount for a healthy adult is deemed to be around seven hours. Insufficient sleep has been shown to have later detrimental effects on things like our mental health, heart health, cognitive functions and even risk of osteoporosis. Further, too much sleep, , can be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease though cause and effect are unclear prolonged sleep may be a marker for underlying disease.
The best kind of sleep is non-REM , which consists of three separate stages, which follow in order, upwards and downwards as your sleep cycle progresses. Stage 3 is said to be the best kind. This is a deep sleep where we are essentially cut off from the outside world and unaware of any sounds or other stimuli. This usually occurs during the first half of the night and is where our brain activity, breathing, heart rate and blood pressure are all at their lowest levels. Its the time when we are most likely to dream too.
Your sleep can influence and be influenced by your health and other health conditions as you move through menopause.
Menopause Leg Aches And Heavy Tired Lower Limbs Its Down To Circulation
We all expect achy and tired legs after a workout or a long walk thats completely normal but if theyre feeling heavy and tired for no reason, then this could be to do with your menopause.
Perhaps you feel like you are walking through treacle, or that your legs feel weighed down. Every step seems to take an incredible amount of effort and energy. You could be suffering from heavy leg syndrome.
If your legs ache during the menopause, it can also be associated with varicose veins which well talk about in a minute.
Like the majority of the symptoms we experience during the menopause, its down to the profound power of fluctuating hormone levels.
So, menopause leg aches what can be done?
Its known that being overweight can be a contributing factor, so embarking on a new healthy eating and increased activity plan is a good start.
Sitting or standing for long periods of time can contribute to the problem set an hourly alarm on your watch or phone so that you can regularly take a 510 minute break.
This switch in movement will help to support blood circulation and alleviate the menopause leg swelling or leg ache youre experiencing.
Dehydration can be a culprit. Make sure youre adequately hydrated, and follow our other top tips for managing your fluid balance.
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The Fix For Arch Pain
Lifestyle changes that minimize weight gain will lighten your feets load, but you also want to address any arch pain immediately. Its way easier to solve before a tear happens and scar tissue develops, Dr. Reid cautions. Orthotics are a go-to for controlling the forces that contribute to heel pain. Wearing shoes with a stiff heel when standing or walking can also take pressure off of the arch. Other options include physical therapy and even stem cell injections. Theres surgery, too. But fortunately, 90% of plantar fascia issues can be resolved without it, Dr. Reid says.