Joint aches and pains come up a lot in conversations about menopause, as they should! They affect over half of women! Unfortunately, those conversations often include the statement: ‘no one told me aching joints could be caused by menopause, not even my GP.’
The most common sites for menopause-related aches and pains include the spine, knees, hands, hips and shoulders. We don’t know why aching joints are more common during menopause, but studies of women using medication that reduces oestrogen have also shown to cause joint pain. More experimental studies show that oestrogen and progesterone have a wide range of effects on the cartilage (the flexible connective tissue found in your joints that keeps them moving smoothly).
Strong muscles protect our joints by taking the weight of our movements and absorbing any shock that would otherwise land on them. Resistance exercises and proper dietary protein intake are important lifestyle factors to help maintain muscle mass. Hormone replacement therapy has also been shown to help with joint pain.
While menopause is a common cause of joint pain, other reasons should still be thoroughly reviewed by your GP.