Among the many symptoms of menopause, an underlooked one is joint pain.
Women in menopause transition (perimenopause) 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.
The presence of estrogen protects joints and as estrogen decreases in the body, it can contribute to some of this discomfort.
Prevention and Treatment:
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium may provide relief but should be taken as sporadically as possible.
- Stress increases all pain experiences, including these pain episodes. Decreasing life stress (sometimes impossible) can improve these pain outbreaks.
- Drink enough water. Again, women who wake up in the night and go to the bathroom perceive that they should decrease their water input, but that is not the case.
- Get enough sleep. Unfortunately, many menopausal women have interrupted sleep due to night sweating. This subset also became more susceptible to pain. Sleep is restorative, not only psychologically, but allows you to tolerate and even ignore minor pain outbreaks.
- Women who exercise more actually had greater complaints about back pain. So, the answer is to change your exercise regimen to stave off back pain. Move away from running on hard surfaces and even treadmill work for a time and add in swimming and yoga and Pilates, at last temporarily.
- Maintain an ideal body weight. Extra body weight puts more strain on all your joints. Menopause is a typical age when women gain weight. It is critical to eat nutritional food that doesn’t contribute to weight gain during this time.
- Consider a calcium supplement.
- Discuss hormone replacement therapy with your health care provider. This should only be considered if your symptoms are severe, as HRT adds a risk of breast cancer for many women.
- Massage may provide significant relief to overall body pain.
Talk to us as you traverse the transition into menopause so we can help craft safe solutions to your everyday pain.