Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years.

While it brings an end to menstruation, it can also introduce a variety of symptoms, one of the most common being joint pain.

Let’s take a closer look at menopause and joint pain, seeing why and how it happens, as well as what you can do to treat it!

Why Do You Have Joint Pain at Menopause?

Joint pain during menopause is a widespread complaint.

But why does it happen?

The answer lies in the complex interplay of hormonal changes that occur during this time.

As estrogen levels decline, the body undergoes various adjustments that can affect the joints:

Hormonal Changes

Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining joint and bone health.

It helps to reduce inflammation and supports the production of collagen, which is super important for joint flexibility and strength.

When estrogen levels drop during menopause, inflammation can increase, and collagen production can decrease, leading to joint pain.

Aging and Wear & Tear

Another factor contributing to joint pain during menopause is the natural aging process.

As we age, the wear and tear on our joints accumulate, making them more susceptible to pain and stiffness.

This can be made worse by the hormonal changes occurring during menopause – which we very often see with menopause and back pain.

Weight Gain

Weight gain is another common issue during menopause, which can put additional stress on the joints, particularly the knees and hips.

This added pressure can lead to increased pain and discomfort.

Functional medicine for weight loss has been shown to work well for weight gain from menopause.

Does Low Estrogen Cause Joint Pain?

The link between low estrogen and joint pain is well-documented.

Estrogen has anti-inflammatory properties and helps maintain the health of cartilage and connective tissue.

When estrogen levels drop, it can lead to increased inflammation and a breakdown of these tissues, resulting in joint pain.

Inflammation

Estrogen helps to regulate the body’s inflammatory response.

With lower levels of estrogen, the body may experience increased inflammation, which can lead to joint pain and stiffness.

Collagen Production

Estrogen is also essential for collagen production.

Collagen is a protein that provides structure and strength to the joints.

Reduced estrogen levels can lead to decreased collagen production, making the joints more vulnerable to pain and injury.

Symptoms of Joint Pain at Menopause

A lady sitting at a desk in pain.

Recognizing the symptoms of menopause joint pain can help you seek appropriate treatment and management strategies.

Here are some common symptoms to watch for:

  • Stiffness: Joint stiffness, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity, is a common symptom of menopause joint pain. This stiffness can make it difficult to move and perform daily activities.
  • Swelling: Swelling in the joints is another common symptom. This can be caused by inflammation and can lead to discomfort and reduced mobility.
  • Pain: Pain is the most obvious symptom of joint pain at menopause. This pain can be mild to severe and may affect one or multiple joints.
  • Reduced Range of Motion: Joint pain can also lead to a reduced range of motion, making it difficult to perform tasks that require flexibility and movement.

How To Treat Menopause Joint Pain

At Heal MD, we believe in a holistic approach to treating menopause joint pain.

Dr. Kayla Milano, a board-certified family medicine physician with specialty training in functional medicine, focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of your joint pain.

Here are some effective strategies to manage and treat menopause joint pain:

Diet

A balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce joint pain.

Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, can also help reduce inflammation.

Exercise

Regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining joint health.

Low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, and yoga can help improve flexibility and strength without putting too much strain on the joints.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the stress on your joints, particularly in the knees and hips.

If you are overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can significantly reduce joint pain.

Functional Medicine Approach

At Heal MD, we take a functional medicine approach to treating joint pain and menopause.

This involves a comprehensive health assessment, timelines of evolving symptoms, and advanced testing to uncover the root causes of your joint pain.

Dr. Milano empowers patients to take ownership of their health and well-being, providing personalized treatment plans to address the underlying issues.

Supplements

Certain supplements can help support joint health and reduce pain.

These include:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These supplements can help maintain cartilage health and reduce joint pain.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: As mentioned earlier, these can help reduce inflammation.
  • Vitamin D and Calcium: These are essential for bone health and can help prevent osteoporosis, which can contribute to joint pain.

Medications

In some cases, medications may be necessary to manage joint pain.

These can include:

Alternative Therapies

Several alternative therapies can also help manage menopause joint pain:

  • Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine technique may help reduce pain and improve joint function.
  • Massage Therapy: Regular massages can help reduce muscle tension and improve circulation, which can alleviate joint pain.
  • Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic adjustments may help improve joint alignment and reduce pain.

Stress Management

Stress can exacerbate joint pain, so it’s important to find ways to manage it effectively.

Techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

Conclusion

Menopause and joint pain is a common and often debilitating symptom of menopause.

However, with the right knowledge and strategies, it’s possible to manage and reduce this pain a lot.

At Heal MD, Dr. Kayla Milano and her team are dedicated to helping you achieve long-term wellness through a holistic and personalized approach.

By addressing the root causes of your joint pain and empowering you to take ownership of your health, we aim to help you lead a pain-free and fulfilling life.

Contact us today to lower your joint pain and manage your menopause symptoms!

FAQs

Will joint pain from menopause go away?

Joint pain experienced during menopause can vary greatly among individuals. For some, the pain may subside as hormone levels stabilize post-menopause. However, for others, the discomfort may persist. At Heal MD, we focus on identifying and addressing the root causes of joint pain through comprehensive health assessments and personalized treatment plans.

What is the most common joint pain during menopause?

The most commonly reported joint pains during menopause are in the knees, hips, and hands. These areas are particularly susceptible due to hormonal changes that affect the joints’ lubrication and inflammation levels.

Can lack of estrogen cause joint pain?

Yes, a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can contribute to joint pain. Estrogen plays a critical role in maintaining joint and bone health. When estrogen levels drop, it can lead to increased inflammation and joint discomfort.

How can I raise my estrogen levels?

There are several ways to support estrogen levels naturally and through medical interventions, including diet, lifestyle modifications, supplements, and BHRT for example.

Why do hips hurt in menopause?

Hips may hurt during menopause due to the decline in estrogen, which can lead to increased inflammation and reduced lubrication in the joints. This can make the hip joints more susceptible to pain and stiffness.