Pain is one of the most unrecognised symptoms of the meno years.
Women in midlife are far more likely to experience chronic pain than men.
Joint pain is often listed as one of the 34 common symptoms of peri/menopause. Other types of pain may also be symptomatic including headaches, cramps, breast tenderness, painful sex and fibromyalgia.
According to Healthline, menopause may bring heightened sensitivity to pain particularly in cases of fibromyalgia – a chronic pain condition. Fibromyalgia is often diagnosed for the first time in women entering perimenopause or menopause.
Chronic pain is debilitating. I can tell you this from first-hand experience as I’ve been experiencing it for the past three-and-a-half years.
It came on suddenly, was linked to extraordinarily stressful life events (house sale, separation, serious illness), and immediately changed my life as I knew it.
I’ve been unable to clean, garden, exercise, have a bath without getting stuck, or get off the loo with ease for a while now. And I’m someone who loves to renovate, exercise regularly and clean the house with ardour.
It’s not to say my condition is due to perimenopause and the meno years, but the doctors have no answers. At one point it was looking like rheumatoid arthritis but that turned out to be unfounded. A GP friend who was staying with us who holds a PhD in biochemistry said it was undoubtedly an autoimmune condition.
I studied holistic nutrition to learn about the link between food and autoimmune disease as the pain is so much milder when I adhere to eating mostly plants and ditch grains, gluten, dairy, and sugar. I’m not always ‘good’ (wine and carbs are a weakness!), but I know I’ll feel so much better if I’m strict. I’ve yet to regain my physical strength and flexibility though.
A New Study
A new study was undertaken recently looking at 200,000 women between the ages of 45-64 and found that those with peri/menopausal symptoms were twice as likely to suffer from chronic pain.
“Changing levels of hormones around menopause have complex interactions with pain modulation and pain sensitivity, which may be associated with vulnerability to either the development or exacerbation of pain conditions,” says JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, Executive Director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “This study suggests that menopause symptoms may also be related to chronic pain experience.”
Your Pain May Be Hormonal
If you’re experiencing pain it could be due to the hormonal changes going on in your body. Most women don’t connect those dots because they don’t realise there’s a link.
We can help because 40+ helps balance out your estrogen and progesterone naturally using your body’s own estrogen metabolism. Getting those hormones on an even keel helps with all of those pesky symptoms: hot flushes, depression, anxiety, insomnia and, of course, the topic of the day – pain.
As for my pain? I’m not sure. I take my 40+ religiously of course. And I’ll keep ditching gluten, dairy, caffeine etc. for the most part because it clearly makes a difference.
And warmth helps. Tropical island anyone? 🌴🌴🌴