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Easing menopause joint pain: 4 things that can help

01 Feb 2024 • 2 min read

Before we get started, head over to our article: What is the menopause?, if you want to become equipped with any information menopause related, or simply refresh your knowledge!

During the menopause, women can be more likely to get osteoarthritis (particularly in the hands) and possibly rheumatoid arthritis.1

Menopause-related aching joints are particularly common; in one survey, they were experienced by almost 40% of women aged between 45 and 65.2

It’s likely that oestrogen will play an important role in the onset of musculoskeletal aches and pains during the menopause. Oestrogen helps to protect our joints and reduces inflammation, but when levels drop during the menopause, inflammation can increase.3

We’ve listed 4 things to help ease joint pain caused by the menopause. Although these aren’t cures, they’re ways that could relieve some uncomfortable, achy, and painful symptoms.

1. Exercising and stretching

Changes in hormone levels can lead to joint pain and stiffness. Exercising and stretching, as well as weight-bearing activities like walking and resistance training, can help maintain bone density and ease pain.

What exercises are best suited?

Yoga is a fantastic exercise for the entire body. It can also improve some of the symptoms of the menopause, including sleep disturbance, fatigue, low mood, and anxiety.4

If you’re wondering… What is yoga? Then check out our article and get familiar with a few different styles of yoga and the benefits of it.

Partaking in regular yoga practice can be beneficial for muscle tone and bone density too. Some women also find it helps to reduce their hot flushes. Your core muscle strength can improve through yoga also, including pelvic floor muscles, which often weaken as hormone levels reduce.5

How often should you be doing them?

It’s recommended to aim for around 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity each week. Whilst other deep breathing, yoga, and stretching exercises can help to manage the stress of life and menopause-related symptoms.6

2. Taking Hormone Replacement Therapy

Used to relieve symptoms of the menopause, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a treatment that replaces the female hormones that are at a lower level when you’re menopausal.

Oestrogen and progesterone are female hormones that play important roles in a woman’s body. Falling levels cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms, including hot flushes, mood swings and vaginal dryness.7
What should you know about HRT?

Did you know that there are different types of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) available?

The type of HRT that's best for you will depend on different factors, such as if you've had a hysterectomy, what stage of menopause you're at, and your personal preferences.

Below are 3 different HRT options which can: 
  • Contain different hormones – oestrogen, progestogen or both (a specialist doctor may also sometimes prescribe testosterone) 
  • Be taken or used in different ways – tablets, patches, gel, spray or vaginal rings, pessaries or cream 
  • Be taken or used at different times – routines can be cyclical (sequential) or continuous8
If you’d like further, more in depth information on HRT, head over to our article: Everything you need to know about HRT.

As always, before deciding on a treatment it’s important to seek advice from your doctor to see if HRT is suitable for you.

3. Anti-inflammatory foods

A Mediterranean diet is said to be one of the best diets to follow, especially for its anti-inflammatory benefits.9,10

Primarily plant-based, this diet includes daily intakes of whole grains, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices. With the preferred animal proteins being fish and seafood.11
  • Anti-inflammatory foods include: 
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, herring) 
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards) 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Garlic 
  • Berries, cherries, oranges 
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts) 
  • Flaxseeds and chia seeds 
  • Unprocessed olive oil 
  • Whole grains12

4. Keep an eye on your weight

Menopause should be looked at as a wonderful beginning of a good health program including lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, including yoga and limiting smoking as well as alcohol.13

Excess weight can put additional stress on weight-bearing joints, like your knees for example. And inflammatory factors associated with weight gain might contribute to trouble in other joints, such as your hands.14

Menopause friendly exercises for postmenopausal women include: 
  • Endurance exercise (aerobic) 
  • Strength exercise 
  • Balance exercise
These exercises are all effective in increasing the bone mineral density of the spine in postmenopausal women.15

The final say

Menopause can be a tough process to navigate, but with some gentle guidance and some lifestyle changes, it can be made more positive and less disruptive.

We hope that this article has inspired you to try something new to support your joints, whether that be through moving more, trying a supplement, seeking treatment, or eating different foods!

If you’re seeking some more tips on all things joints and menopause, take a look at our: Bone, Joint & Muscle Health page and our Menopause page.

Sources

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6332715/
 
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