How does menopause affect the joints and muscles in your body?
Dr. Toni Brayer has practiced Internal Medicine in San Francisco for over 20 years. She graduated Cum laude from the University of Arizona College of Medicine and she is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. Dr. Brayer has served as President of the San Francisco Medical Society and Chief of Staff at California Pacific Medical Center, and is currently the Regional Chief Medical Officer at Sutter Health, as well as the Medical Advisor for the MyLifeStages program . She is a known speaker and writer on a variety medical topics.
Many women experience joint and muscle pain and stiffness around the time of menopause that they hadn't experienced before. Because there are estrogen receptors all over the body, including the joints, declining hormone levels can add to pain caused by inflammation, general wear and tear, and just plain aging. There are many causes of joint pain and hormones are only one aspect, so it is impossible to pinpoint hormones as the sole cause.
The best way to keep joints healthy and flexible is to use them. As we get older our activity levels decline, our weight goes up and joint stiffness begins. It is never too late to reverse this cycle. Yoga or formal stretching time is a great way to improve flexibility and pump the synovial fluid around the joint. When a women is active and flexible, and the pain persists, her doctor can decide if hormone replacement has a role in improving the symptoms.
Menopause and Perimenopause resources