Joint Pain

Joint Pains and MenopauseMenopause Joint Pains

As women get older they often suffer from joint pain. Although this is a common ailment in both men and women embarking on their golden years, joint pain is also a symptom of menopause that can be eased with proper knowledge and treatment.

As a woman approaches menopause, typically between the ages of 45 and 55, her body goes through drastic hormonal fluctuations that can affect her in many ways.
Hormones play a major role in a woman´s bone and joint health. When her hormones become imbalanced during menopause she will often experience joint pain.

About Joint Pain

Joint pain, also known as “Arthralgia,” is defined as pain, stiffness, or swelling in or around a joint. There are 360 joints in the human body.
Joint pain often occurs in joints of high impact, such as the knees, hips, and back, but many women notice the joints in their hands become stiffer and more painful with age.

Types of joints

There are several types of joints in the human body. Below of the joints most commonly associated with joint pain.

  • Ball and Socket Joints allow for a wide range of rotation and movement. The shoulder and hip are ball and socket joints.
  • Condyloid Joints allow movement but no rotation. There are condyloid joints in the jaw and fingers.
  • Gliding Joints allow bones to glide past each other. There are gliding joints in the ankles, wrists and spine.
  • Hinge Joints allow for movement much like that of a door hinge. The knee and ulna part of the elbow are hinge joints.
  • Pivot Joints allow bones to spin and twist around other bones. There are pivot joints in the neck and the radius part of the elbow.
  • Saddle Joints allow for back and forth and side to side motion but limited rotation. There is a saddle joint in the thumb.

Women are 10 times more likely than men to suffer from joint pain in their hands. Because joint pain is common in women approaching menopause, some have even coined the term “menopausal arthritis” to describe this symptom. It can be an extremely discomforting ailment and make simple tasks and movements almost unbearable.

Symptoms of Joint Pain

The symptoms of joint pain will depend on the particular cause of the pain experienced, but the typical symptoms of joint pain related to menopause include: pain, stiffness, swelling, and warmth in the joints. Limited morning stiffness, exacerbation of pain with exercise, and relief from pain with rest are also common symptoms in women who suffer from joint pain.

Other causes of joint pain, such as injury or certain types of arthritis, can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Stiffness of the joint after long periods of rest

Causes of Joint Pain

Like most menopausal symptoms, joint pain is typically caused by hormonal imbalance. As menopause approaches, a woman´s hormones begin to fluctuate, preparing for a permanent decrease in production of the primary hormones, estrogen and progesterone.

Although doctors are still unclear exactly how hormones, particularly estrogen, affect joints, most are resigned to the fact that estrogen (specifically a diminished level of estrogen) plays a major role in joint pain during menopause.

Estrogen affects joints by keeping inflammation down. Inflammation is a leading cause of joint pain. As estrogen levels begin to drop during peri-menopause, the five-to-10-year time span leading up to menopause, joints get less and less estrogen and pain often is the result.

Other Causes

There are several causes of joint pain not related to hormones. Below is a list of other factors that can cause joint
pain:

  • Wear and tear
  • Injuries
  • Weight, diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Muscle loss
  • Stress
  • Heredity
  • Inflammation of the joint
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Bone Diseases
  • Tumors and Cancer

Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms: