Menopause and Pain
Women in the U.S. experience menopause on average between ages 51-52. Perimenopause precedes this and typically lasts 3-5 years. During the menopause transition, hormone levels fluctuate, specifically estrogen and progesterone. During hormone fluctuations, some women experience pain in different regions of the body.
- The cramping may be more intense during the menstrual cycle.
- Migraine headaches can increase or decrease during the menopause transition.
- Joints can become painful.
Estrogen is very good at helping to reduce inflammation.
As estrogen levels decline,
- The joints of the neck, shoulders, elbows, hands, and knees can begin to ache.
- An old joint injury may become aggravated.
- If fibromyalgia exists, the body might experience heightened sensitivity.
- The tissues in the vagina become less elastic which may cause pain with intercourse and interfere with intimacy.
It helps to know that fluctuating hormones can cause pains that come and go during this phase in a woman’s life. Since these hormone fluctuations are temporary, women can expect their pains to be temporary too. However, if the pain interferes with a woman’s life, she should consult with her physician. While self-care recommendations or treatment may help alleviate pain, it is also important to have peace of mind that the pain doesn’t indicate a more serious condition.