Aches and pains
Menopause symptoms and treatments.
Aches and pains
Aches and pains are frequent side effects of menopause. Numerous forms of aches and pains might be caused by this transition’s hormonal changes as well as other factors.
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Types of aches and pains experienced during the menopause:
During the menopause, many women experience joint pain, stiffness, or discomfort. Reduced oestrogen levels, carrying additional body weight or age-related conditions like osteoarthritis may be the culprits. Back, knee, hip and hand/feet discomfort are the most commonly affected sites. Upper back pain is less common and should be discussed with your Doctor.
Over-the-counter pain relievers
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help lessen joint discomfort and inflammation. Applying creams or gels that contain analgesic or anti-inflammatory substances (such as menthol, capsaicin) may offer some relief.
Applying creams or gels to the affected joints that contain analgesic or anti-inflammatory substances (such as menthol, capsaicin) may offer momentary relief.
Hot and cold therapy
Alternating between applications of heat and cold can help reduce joint discomfort. Muscles can be relaxed and blood flow can be improved by using a heating pad, a warm towel, or a warm bath. Ice, or cold compresses, can help numb the region and reduce swelling and inflammation.
Low-impact exercises can increase joint mobility, strengthen supporting muscles, and lessen joint pain. Examples include swimming, cycling, or gentle stretching.
Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC)
WBC involves exposing the complete body to extremely low temperatures for a brief period of time (usually 2-3 minutes) in a specially designed cryotherapy chamber. It can offer a number of benefits including pain reduction, a decrease in inflammation, reduced anxiety, improved sleep as well as muscle recovery, and greater vitality. Whole body cryotherapy is offered on the same site as the clinic and can be booked here.
Muscle tightness and pain
Menopause-related hormonal changes can make people experience these symptoms. Some women may have generalised muscle soreness or unpleasant tension in particular muscle areas, such as the neck, shoulders, or back.
Yoga and other moderate stretching exercises can increase flexibility when done regularly.
Regular massage can also aid muscle relaxation.
Heat treatment, through use of a heated towel, heating pad, or warm bath, can help relax muscles and ease aches and pains.
Stress reduction methods
Muscle tension can be lessened by utilising stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or relaxing activities. Sometimes this can include drastic measures such as changes in employment.
Migraines and headaches
Hormonal fluctuation, as well as resultant poor sleep, during menopause can cause, or exacerbate, migraines and headaches. Women may suffer from new or worsening migraines with or without an aura, lesser known vestibular migraines associated with vertigo, sinus headaches, or tension headaches.
Infrequent migraines may be managed with as required medications, such as aspirin or triptans, which can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. It is vital not to use such medications for more than ten days per month or a cycle can be induced whereby you can get medication overuse headaches.
Preventive medications can be employed to lessen the severity as well as frequency of migraines. Traditionally beta blockers, antiepileptic medications, and tricyclic antidepressants have been used but hormone replacement therapy through the skin is safe and may also play a role in maintaining stable hormonal levels during the perimenopause transition and thus reducing/preventing migraines/headaches.
To those who suffer from migraines, I recommend listening to the Heads Up Podcasts from the National Migraine Centre.
Identifying and avoiding triggers, keeping a regular sleep pattern, controlling stress, drinking plenty of water and reducing caffeine intake can all help lessen the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines.
Hormonal fluctuations, muscle stress, or aging-related causes can all lead to back pain. It can cause discomfort in the spine, upper back pain, or lower back pain. Back discomfort in women going through menopause can also be brought on by poor posture, weak muscles, and stress.
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Some women experience uncomfortable or tender breasts (mastalgia) during peri-menopause. This can be due to a mismatch in hormones between oestrogen and progesterone as occurs at this time, breast tissue changes, weight gain, poor posture and ill-fitting bras. Hormone replacement therapy may also contribute to breast pain. Thankfully it is rarely a sign of anything sinister but persistent pain or pain merely in one breast should be highlighted to your Doctor.
Bras should be well fitting. Topical Ibuprofen or volterol gel can be helpful. For a long time evening primrose oil was believed to help but now it is felt that very high doses are needed.
Loss of oestrogen at menopause removes much of the scaffolding to the pelvic floor muscles which can result in continence issues and prolapsed of the pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterus and/or rectum. Pelvic pain during menopause can also be caused by conditions including uterine fibroids (which may grow in perimenopause but regress following it), endometriosis (where menstrual bleeding occurs outside of the womb) or adenomyosis where menstrual bleeding simultaneously occurs within the muscular walls of the womb where it is unable to escape, causing it to swell).
It is never too late to start pelvic floor exercises and if you are not sure that you are performing them correctly there are even pelvic floor physiotherapists to support you with this. Avoiding heavy lifting, treating constipation (with over the counter products such as Laxido or Fybogel sachets) and stopping smoking, to reduce coughing etc, can also prevent pelvic floor weakening. My pet hate is seeing women drinking from enormous water bottles and this daily additional water weight through the pelvic floor works to weaken it. A Mirena coil can be very effective in managing fibroids (depending on the site submucosal fibroids can prohibit a coil), endometriosis and adenomyosis. These can be fitted in clinic.
Surgical treatments with a Gynaecologist may include turning off the hormones entirely with injections, endometrial ablation which effectively burns the lining of the womb (relax whilst the uterus is sensitive to stretch pain hence labour pain! It does not contain temperature pain fibres. Ultimately a hysterectomy can be offered. But remember this is major surgery and also removes some of the support to the pelvic floor. Be reassured that most of these symptoms will resolve at menopause.
Some women may experience tingling or burning pain or discomfort during the menopause and we don’t fully understand why. Peripheral neuropathy, an example being carpal tunnel syndrome, also becomes more common. This can also be down to fluid retention or weight gain.
You ought to discuss such symptoms with a healthcare professional.
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General body aches
Fatigue and generalised bodily aches might be symptoms of menopause. There may be a general feeling of discomfort as a result of these symptoms because they might be diffuse and affect different parts of the body.
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Treatment for back pain, breast soreness, pelvic pain, and general body aches
Engaging in activities that help you relax or practising stress-reduction strategies like deep breathing can help lessen pain and discomfort.
A healthcare provider may occasionally advise physical therapy to address certain problems with aches and pains. To reduce pain and enhance function, physical therapists can offer specific exercises, manual therapy, and other methods.
Using a heating pad, a warm towel, or taking a warm bath helps ease discomfort and relax muscles.
Whole-body cryotherapy (WBC)
WBC involves exposing the complete body to extremely low temperatures for a brief period of time (usually 2-3 minutes) in a specially designed cryotherapy chamber. It is asserted to offer a number of advantages, such as pain reduction, a decrease in inflammation, enhanced muscle recovery, and greater vitality.
Keeping a straight spine while standing, sitting, and lifting can help reduce back discomfort.
Stretching and exercise
Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or mild yoga can help build muscles, enhance posture, and reduce pain.
- Aches and pains
- Anger and Bitterness
- Bleeding with intercourse
- Brain fog
- Headaches and migraines
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Loss of libido
- Low self-esteem and low confidence
- Night-time sweats and hot flushes
- Panic attacks
- Period issues and changes
- Sleep issues
- Soreness and pain during intercourse
- Vaginal dryness and soreness
- Women’s Health