Women are likely to start suffering from joint pain when they enter into perimenopause, which is the transitional period immediately preceding menopause. Some of this is attributable to age and osteoarthritis, which results from everyday wear and tear on our joints. However, joint pain is also caused by the diminishing of estrogen levels, which occurs during this period of a woman's life.
Estrogen is a female hormone that plays a vital role in a woman's health. As she heads toward the end of her reproductive years, hormones can become erratic. At times, during perimenopause, she may suffer from estrogen dominance (too much estrogen) but as she moves closer to menopause her estrogen levels diminish drastically. According to Womentowomen.com, estrogen has an anti-inflammatory effect on our body. When estrogen is lacking, this can cause the symptoms of chronic inflammation to get worse.
The official name for joint pain, regardless of when it occurs, is arthralgia. This condition includes swelling in or around joints, pain and stiffness. Our "high impact" joints, including hips, knees and the back, along with the joints in our hands, tend to be hard-hit as women age.
Joint pain is so frequently cited by perimenopausal woman as a problem that this condition is now actually called menopausal arthritis. Doctors aren't completely sure why estrogen has such a bearing on the health of our joints; they only know that it does.
Bone loss can occur in menopausal women. This may result in osteoporosis, or porous bone disease, which can cause joint pain. Bone loss escalates as estrogen levels drop. When a woman reaches full menopause she has approximately one-tenth as much estrogen as she once had.
A menopausal woman may be suffering from joint pain that is not caused by hormonal imbalances. Other factors that can result in joint pain include being overweight, poor diet, failure to exercise, injuries to the body, stress, muscle loss, cancer and tumors, joint inflammation, heredity and metabolic disorders.
Some perimenopausal and menopausal women choose to treat their joint pain by using phytotherapy, an alternative treatment method. This method supports hormonal balance and provides pain relief for some. Phytotherapy is an age-old practice that involves the use of medicinal plants to restore our body's balance and help it heal. This treatment involves consuming plant extracts containing compounds called phytohormones, which structurally resemble the body's hormones and mimic native hormones such as estrogen.
Other ways to treat joint pain associated with menopause include keeping active, even though your joint pain may make you reluctant to do so. Exercising will help diminish your symptoms. Improve your diet and eat foods that will increase estrogen levels including rice, wheat, yams, soy, apples, cherries and alfalfa. Join a yoga class, which will encourage you to stretch, helping you maintain your flexibility and keeping you limber and mobile. Avoid caffeine but stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Take a daily supplement that contains vitamins B, C, E and A.