I’m menopausal and have joint pains – what can I do to help?
27th April 2019
Joint and muscle pains are symptoms that are commonly reported by women who are peri- and post-menopausal. Estrogen has been shown to have a role in maintaining the strength of the tissues that make up our musculo-skeletal system – the bones and the connective tissues. As the levels of estrogen start to fall around the time of the menopause, women can start to experience symptoms as these tissues may start to weaken.
What can I do to help?
There are a number of things you can do to help maintain your muscle and bone strength.
Firstly, ensure you have an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D to try and maximise your bone strength – ideally you should do this throughout life to help you achieve a high bone mineral density (BMD) before you reach the menopause, but its never too late to start!
Secondly, weight-bearing exercise is really important. This type of exercise helps with the remodelling processes that our bones are going through all the time, helping them to maintain a strong and efficient structure. If you are having particular joint problems, such as knee or ankle joint pain, it can also be useful to see a physiotherapist for advice on the best exercises to help.
Finally, there is evidence that HRT is protective against the bone and muscle changes associated with reducing estrogen levels, and can even reverse the changes. As a result, women who are taking HRT will often report improvements in their aches and pains. So if you are experiencing joints pains, or have actually been shown to have low bone density (osteopenia) or even osteoporosis, you may want to consider HRT as an option.