Arthritis and Menopause: Don't 'Ache It 'Til You Make It'

WV Marshall

So, are those aches and pains indicative of something more than a woman’s joints rebelling against getting out of bed or a chair, or making a fist? Could be.

Estrogen – that hormone that helps to make us us – could play a role in the development of several forms of arthritis (there are more than 100 types so far!), such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, according to several health-related websites, including

While found in both men and women, higher levels of estrogen are in women, and during menopause, women experience shrinking estrogen levels.

Arthritis can be classified as either inflammatory or non-inflammatory, according to

Inflammatory arthritis, which features inflammatory white blood cells in joint fluid, includes rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritis and gout.

Forms of non-inflammatory arthritis include osteoarthritis, arthritis of thyroid disease, post-injury arthritis and others forms.

Menopause may cause joint pain affecting knees, shoulders, neck, elbows, or hands – even old joint injuries could make themselves known again. Because estrogen helps to reduce inflammation, the decline in its levels may lead to inflammation, causing discomfort and menopause-related arthritis.

The thing to remember is that while not all joint pain experienced during perimenopause represents arthritis, research has found increased frequency of both inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis in women experiencing menopause.

If you have concerns that that ache may not be just an ache but symptomatic of something more, check with your medical provider and together you can plot a course of action.