Although some of the more than 50% of post-menopausal women who struggle with joint paint were already dealing with the problem before the onset of menopause, their hormonal changes can make the condition more troublesome.(1) For the rest of this majority group, menopause is most definitely the cause of joint pain.
In the short-term, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin and ibuprofen can help mitigate the joint pain. The supplement glucosamine sulfate has also been found to help build up sulfur in cartilage and thus help combat against various forms of arthritis extenuated by menopause.
On the natural remedy side, salicylates found in bark, buds, and various tree leaves have been relied upon for centuries to help to treat inflamed joints. Health food store products such as Peruvian bark, yellow dock root, brown seaweed, and black current bud macerate are all worthy options for those inclined to a homeopathic path for well-being.
Recent research into cancer patients being treated after menopause uncovered some logical correlations.(2) Those women who had stopped getting their menstrual periods less than five years beforehand were three times more likely to suffer from joint pain than those women who had experienced menopause ten years before being treated for breast cancer.
Another study confirmed that the use of aromatase inhibitors, designed to lower the level of estrogen in the female body because that same hormone can nourish cancerous tumors,(3) could also reinforce the problem of joint paint. However, the application of electro-acupuncture was found to be a highly effective form of treatment.
Joints most painfully affected after menopause are the small ones of the fingers and feet.(4) Lower estrogen levels impact the production of fluids that lubricate the joints, where “estrogen receptors” in the joint tissue are waiting to be stimulated. Research in this area was first conducted in Finland in the 1970s and found that 35% of women incurred joint pain as a result of menopause.
(1) Association of Women for the Advancement of Research and Education – Remedies for Menopausal Symptoms, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://www.project-aware.org/Managing/Alt/aching.shtml
(2) University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine – Higher Residual Estrogen Levels Following Menopause May Impact Risk of Joint Pain Retrieved July 20, 2011 from: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2009/09/reducing-breast-cancer-drug-side-effects/
(3) National Cancer Institute – Aromatase Inhibitor, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/treatment/aromatase-inhibitors/Page4
(4) EmpowHer – Dr. Phillip M. Sarrell, MD, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://video.answers.com/the-relationship-between-menopause-and-joint-pain-236989505