You’ve seen it on birthday cards and in email chains — we love to poke fun at menopause. But when you think about all of the changes your body goes through, you know that menopause is no laughing matter, especially when it comes to its impact on your bone and joint health.
Our team at The Center for Women's Health specialize not only in treating bone conditions like osteoarthritis but helping you identify the effect other health conditions have on your bone health.
Here’s everything you should know about early menopause and osteoarthritis.
A closer look at early menopause
Menopause is the last stage in a woman’s reproductive development, marking the end of menstrual cycles and fertility. Typically, women enter this phase in their early 50s. Some, however, enter menopause early, before the age of 40.
Early menopause can be brought on naturally, which is referred to as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), or by other factors, including:
- Cigarette smoking
- Surgical removal of the ovaries
- Side effects from chemotherapy or radiation
- Family history of early menopause
- Certain medical conditions or infections
Entering menopause early brings on all of the usual symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, irregular menstrual cycles, and mood swings. It also increases your risk for menopause-related health conditions, including certain cancers, oral health problems, and degenerative bone and joint conditions like osteoarthritis.
Early menopause and your bones
Menopause and all its symptoms are the results of a decrease in your production of the hormone estrogen, which plays a key role in female reproduction and growth and development.
As you age and your hormone levels decrease and become imbalanced, your bone density decreases, leaving you susceptible to osteoporosis. What’s worse, studies now show that the drop in estrogen during menopause also affects articular tissue, which establishes a connection between menopause and osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage between your bones wears down and allows your bones to rub against each other. This condition can cause significant pain, stiffness, tenderness, and loss of joint flexibility. Osteoarthritis can impact virtually any joint and bone in your body, but it’s most commonly found in the knees, hips, hands, and spine.
Early menopause can cause your joints to deteriorate prematurely as well and leave you vulnerable to serious and potentially permanent joint and bone damage. While most women face this in their 50s and 60s, those who experience early menopause live with the physical changes longer, which gives osteoarthritis an early start and plenty of time to wreak havoc on your bones and joints.
Treating your osteoarthritis
Whether early onset menopause triggered your osteoarthritis or has aggravated it, our expert team is dedicated to helping you find the right treatment. He takes the time to sit down with you and discuss your health history before recommending a treatment plan.
He offers revolutionary, minimally invasive pain management treatments that address your pain naturally and help you heal from within.
If you’d like more information or would like to schedule an appointment with The Center for Women's Health, contact our Newport News and Hampton, Virginia office online or over the phone.