Joint pain is one of the most common complaints among aging individuals. It can affect several joints in your body, such as knees, wrist, neck, and lower back.
At the present day, young people are beginning to suffer from joint pain. According to statistics, about 1.5 million people in America suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which is an autoimmune disorder involving chronic inflammation in the joints.
Women suffer from RA three times more than men. Most people develop this condition between 30 to 60 years of age.
Hormonal imbalance can play a significant role in joint pain. | Source: Freepik.com
Joint pain occurs due to various physical and environmental factors, including poor dietary intake, lack of exercise, weight, high stress-levels, hormonal imbalance, and past injuries.
Most of the people have a tendency to pain killers to get rid of the pain and agony. However, it is just a temporary solution that doesn’t get the issue solved. And after some time, the dose has to be increased, or the medicine has to be taken more frequently. Over time, people have to face the side effects of these medicines, which makes matters worst.
Thus, the question arises, what’s the best way to manage your joint pain? The answer lies in understanding what’s causing joint pain. Figuring out the cause will not only help you choose a better way to treat the problem but also help manage the symptoms more effectively.
In this article, we are going to discuss how hormones and joint pain are related and what can you do to correct the imbalances.
What Are the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormones are the chemicals released from your endocrine glands as a result of stimulation from your brain. These chemical messengers are released into the bloodstream to target the tissues and cells all over your body. These hormones regulate major processes in the body like reproduction, metabolism, etc.
Hormonal imbalance refers to an increased or decreased level of a specific hormone in the blood than the optimal level. Even little fluctuations in your hormonal levels can have a profound impact on the functions of your body.
Fatigue & depression are very common in women suffering from hormonal imbalance. Source: Freepik.com
Hormonal changes are very common in women as a result of the reproductive cycle; hence they are most likely to experience joint pain associated with hormonal imbalance. The symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Irregular bowel movements
- Feeling hot or cold
- Dry skin
- Puffiness of face
- Changes in heart rate
- Muscle weakness
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Muscle aches
- Pain, stiffness, or swelling in joints
- Excessive hair fall
- Increased apatite
- Decreased sex drive
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Blurred vision
- Purple or pink stretch marks
What Hormones Cause Inflammation and Joint Pain?
Inflammation causes tearing of your tissues in the long-term and prevents regeneration and repair of cells, including joints. Research has shown that inflammation does not only occur as a local response but is mediated by hormones. Insulin, while regulating the glucose levels, also facilitates inflammation at the vascular and cellular level. Glucocorticoids, estrogen, glucagon, and thyroid hormones play a role in reducing inflammation. Turmeric and curcumin supplements can help you reduce inflammation and keep joint pain under control.
1. High Prostaglandin Level
There is a directly proportional relationship between female hormones and joint pain. Prostaglandin, along with its predominant function as a reproductive hormone, is released at the site of injury by the surrounding cells to aid healing and inflammation. Increased levels of prostaglandin can result in unwanted inflammation in the body. Too much prostaglandins in the blood can cause painful periods, arthritis, and some types of cancers.
2. Low Testosterone
While testosterone can cause weight gain indirectly leading to RA, this hormone has no direct association with RA. However, it plays a role in maintaining bone density, and its low levels can cause osteoporosis and achy joints.
3. Reduced Level of Estrogen
The fluctuation of estrogen levels is important for the menstrual cycle. A drop in the estrogen level not only causes the monthly period in women but also has a profound effect on the joints. Low estrogen levels promote chronic inflammation, including the joints such as knees, elbows, neck, shoulders, or hands.
If you have menopause and joint pain, it’s highly likely due to reduced estrogen in your blood. Women who already have joint pain problems before menopause are often found to experience worsening joint pain symptoms after menopause.
4. High Cortisol Level
Increased level of the glucocorticoid cortisol causes inflammation and, thus, joint pain. If you are constantly under stress, your body releases cortisol to cater to it. This will then lead to chronic inflammation over time and end up causing pain in joints.
5. High Level of Insulin
Eating a lot of sugar causes high insulin levels, which leads to an increase in body fat. This results in increased weight, adding more stress to your joints. Constant high blood sugar and elevated insulin level cause chronic inflammation in your body, which eventually results in arthritis and joint pain. This is the reason why you should cut back on sugar as it causes early aging.
Diagnosis And Management Of Hormonal Imbalance
Imbalances in hormones and joint pain can both be treated well if the actual cause behind the issue is diagnosed. There is not one single test for the diagnosis of hormonal imbalance.
After you make an appointment with your physician, you’ll be asked several questions to explain your symptoms and the history of your medical condition. Your doctor may also do a physical exam before suggesting any diagnostic tests.
Your doctor may ask a few questions to assess your condition. | Source: Freepik.com
The questions most frequently asked by your doctor can include the following:
- What’s the frequency of your symptoms?
- Do your symptoms get relieved by anything?
- Have you noticed any recent changes in your body weight?
- Is something causing stress?
- When did you have your last period?
- Do you have any plans to get pregnant?
According to your case history, your clinician will suggest one or more of the following diagnostic tests.
1. Blood Test
Your doctor will suggest blood sampling for testing your blood content. Most of the hormones can be detected through a blood test. Blood tests can be used to check your thyroid hormones, estrogen, cortisol as well as testosterone levels.
Ultrasound is utilized to send ultrasonic waves to visualize inside your body. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound to visualize your uterus, ovaries, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or testicles.
3. Additional Tests
Other tests might sometimes be needed for a more advanced check. These may include:
- Thyroid scan
- Sperm count
Can You Test Your Hormone Levels at Home?
If you are experiencing menopause and joint pain simultaneously, you can consider a home testing kit. These kits detect the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your urine. During your menopause, your FSH levels elevate; they also fluctuate during a physiological menstrual cycle. Thus, a home testing kit can give you an indication that you are entering into menopause, but the results are not definitive.
Treatment of Hormonal Imbalance
Whether you need estrogen therapy, testosterone therapy, anti-androgens, or thyroid hormone replacement will depend upon your specific cause of hormonal imbalance. The treatment options include:
1. Estrogen Therapy
If you are nearing menopause and have started feeling pain in joints, your doctor might recommend estrogen supplementation for you. This will control inflammation and ease out pain in joints.
A 2020 study has reported that estradiol can help prevent inflammation and play a protective role against arthritis. However, you should make sure to discuss the benefits and risks of estrogen therapy with your doctor.
There is a connection between estrogen and joint pain, as shown in a 2018 Randomized control trial published in the medical journal menopause. Researchers examined the efficacy of estrogen supplementation for the problems of chronic joint pain. About 11,000 postmenopausal women who had undergone hysterectomy were randomly selected and were given oral conjugated equine estrogens or a comparable placebo daily. The frequency and severity of joint pain and swelling were monitored. After one year, it was found that both joint pain frequency and the severity significantly reduced in the estrogen-alone group as compared to the placebo group.
2. Anti-Androgen Medications
The male sex hormones are found in both men and women. Doctors may recommend anti-androgens to women who have high androgen levels to prevent acne problems, facial hair growth, joint pain, or hair loss.
Metformin is a drug used to treat type 2 Diabetes to keep sugar levels in check. Although this drug is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is used for women with polycystic ovary symptoms.
4. Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone supplementation is done for men who have low testosterone levels as a cause of joint pain. While it stimulates the onset of puberty, it also helps to maintain weight and keep the bone density in check.
5. Thyroid Hormone Therapy
People who have hypothyroidism are treated with synthetic thyroid hormone, levothyroxine, according to the severity of deficiency. This can bring their thyroid hormone level back to normal to achieve the metabolic balance and prevent joint pain.
Other treatment options for imbalanced hormones include vaginal estrogen therapy, Flibanserin (Addyi), and bremelanotide (Vyleesi) for reduced sexual drive in premenopausal women, and Eflornithine (Vaniqa) for excessive hair on the face.
Natural Remedies and Supplements for Treating Joint Pain Due to Hormone Imbalance
There are many ways to treat joint pain caused by an imbalance in hormones. Some people believe that practicing yoga helps treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
1. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can play a crucial role in improving your joint pain. | Source: Freepik.com
Physical exercise is crucial for the optimal health of your joints, their flexibility, and stability. However, pain in joints might discourage you from exercising. But try to exercise regularly. Start low with some easy stretches and walks, while increasing the exertion over time. This will naturally lubricate your joints, enhance circulation, and maintain your hormonal balance. Discuss the exercise plan with your doctor for more advice.
2. Practice Yoga
Yoga is considered to be an excellent way to achieve good health. It is scientifically backed for enhancing strength, reducing stress and anxiety, decreasing inflammation as well as combating chronic pain conditions such as arthritis. It might also help you in losing weight and regulating hormones.
3. Lose Weight
While being overweight is a setback to your looks and confidence, it also increases the risk of developing joint pain. If you have joint pain and are overweight, it is likely to be caused by the extra pounds you have. Losing weight is not only a natural way to relieve joint pain, but it also helps to maintain hormone levels.
4. Use Natural Supplements
There is an assortment of nutritional supplements available in the market to treat the imbalance of hormones and joint pain. However, only a few are actually effective and offer no side effects. The best supplements for joint pain are the ones containing quercetin, ginger root, curcumin, such as Organic Turmeric Curcumin Supplement, etc. Also, Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder is a natural stress reliever and provides thyroid support.
5. Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy lifestyle is a key to good health. Having a good night’s sleep and waking up early in the morning is not only good for your brain, but it is what keeps hormones and metabolic processes regulated. This also helps to keep your joints and bones in optimum health.
6. Eat A Balanced Diet
Avoid acid-producing foods that can promote inflammation. These include fried food, meat, sugary foods, dairy products. An alkaline diet is what’s best for your health. Add a lot of green vegetables and fruits to your diet.
To sum up, hormones and joint pain are correlated. An increase or decrease in certain hormones can incite joint pain. Consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis of your condition. After proper diagnosis, your clinician will give useful advice for your lifestyle habits and prescribe appropriate medicines to treat your condition. You can always add organic supplements from Beherbal in order to improve your symptoms and alleviate the quality of your life.
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- Brito J. Everything You Should Know About Hormonal Imbalance. Healthline. Jan, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/hormonal-imbalance
- What Is Prostaglandins? Hormone Health Network. https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones
- Wilson D R. Does Menopause Cause Pain? Healthline. Aug, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/pain