Estrogen - Joint Pain Connection in Menstruating Women with Osteoarthritis

New to a:care? Sign up here.

Estrogen - Joint Pain Connection in Menstruating Women with Osteoarthritis

At a very elementary level, the rise and fall of the hormones progesterone and estrogen in addition to other hormones are what govern a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is this changing of hormone levels which have an effect on osteoarthritis symptoms.

Estrogen - Joint Pain Connection in Menstruating Women with Osteoarthritis

High estrogen levels and joint pain

Estrogen affects pain perception and is thus a natural defense against the pain caused by osteoarthritis. Women have reported a lessening of joint pain and some of the symptoms associated with some types of arthritis when there is a higher concentration of these hormones, namely the postovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle. An indication of the role played by estrogen in pain management for women is at its peak during pregnancy, which is thought to help women cope with the pain of giving birth. It is important to note that estrogen is not the sole factor in osteoarthritis and joint pain and not all women report the same changes in symptoms.

Low estrogen levels and joint pain

Women could experience higher levels of joint pain and other symptoms when estrogen levels are low. Estrogen levels are at their lowest just before and during menstruation which is why osteoarthritis pain is likely to be more severe during this period. That is why menstruating women with osteoarthritis need to be careful and talk to their doctors about adjusting their pain medication accordingly. Preliminary research on the effects of estrogen replacement therapy indicate that estrogen may have therapeutic value when it comes to osteoarthritis and not just the joint pain associated with it. Studies show that the natural decline in the levels of the hormone estrogen as women age, especially after menopause, may also be a contributing factor to the elevated risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Low estrogen levels and joint pain

LEFT IMAGE

More conclusive studies are required to better understand the connection between estrogen and joint pain. Estrogen is an important hormone in osteoarthritis but it could also provide joint pain relief in post-menopausal women. Even so, estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), which doctors sometimes prescribe for menopausal women, needs to be studied further before it is applied to managing osteoarthritis in women. Doctors often recommend a stepped-care approach for osteoarthritis treatment in women. This would begin with weight loss and exercise and move to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and/or glucosamine and chondroitin for moderate to severe cases. Patients are also advised to add specific strengthening exercises to their daily workouts and avoid placing stress on their joints for prolonged periods. Talk to your doctor about your osteoarthritis before making any alterations in your diet, exercise, lifestyle or medications.

The scientific content of this publication has been developed and designed by Abbott Healthcare Private Limited. Although greatest possible care has been taken in compiling, checking and developing the content to ensure that it is accurate and complete, the authors, its servants or agents, or Abbott Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., are not responsible or in any way liable for any injury or damage to any persons in view of any reliance placed on or action taken basis of the information in this publication or any errors, omissions or inaccuracies and/or incompleteness of the information in this publication, whether arising from negligence or otherwise. Abbott Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. neither agrees nor disagrees with the views expressed in this publication and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any kind. Abbott Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. acknowledges all copyrights and/or trademarks of third party contained or appearing in this publication.