Can Hormone Therapy Reduce Arthritis Pain?
Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of men and women across the country. Despite its prevalence, there is still no cure to rheumatoid arthritis, the most common form of arthritis. It is caused by inflammation and chronic pain in the joints as a result of either an autoimmune disorder or an inability to maintain the strength and health of joints throughout the body. While the cause is unknown, hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone have been linked to joint maintenance at the cellular level. When the joint begins to become deteriorated, the connective tissues around the joint can become inflamed and cause pain and reduced range of motion.
In order to better understand the link between hormones and joint pain caused by arthritis, it is important to understand what arthritis can cause in those it affects. The most common symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint swelling
- Redness, warmth to the touch
- Decreased range of motion
- Lumps around affected area
All of these symptoms share a common characteristic – they all are a result of what happens when the joint deteriorates and becomes inflamed. Since arthritis is a degenerative disorder, it usually will start out in smaller joints, and if it progresses usually spreads to the larger joints such as the knees and elbows.
The inflammation in the joint is mainly caused by a lack of ability to maintain the health and stability of the joint. The production of synovial fluid (lubricant), bone maintenance, and cartilage maintenance are all factors that are contribute to this. In both men and women, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone have been shown to have a big influence on this process. This is why women who go through menopause have been shown to be 60% more likely to develop some form of arthritis, as estrogen and progesterone levels decrease rapidly during this time.
Hormones and Arthritis
Research has shown that the sexual hormones estrogen and progesterone have a protective effect against the damaging joint deterioration symptoms of arthritis. A study done on a group of middle aged women showed that the women with arthritis experienced increased pain during the postovulatory phases, or phases where estrogen and progesterone were decreased. Women are three times more likely to develop arthritis after the age of 40 compared to men.
Does estrogen and progesterone affect men the same way?
While they do not have the same sexual characteristics, estrogen and progesterone both have protective effects to the bones and joints of men as well. The key difference is that they work in combination with testosterone, and the correct balance between these hormones is what results in a decrease in bone and joint health. When men and women reach the age of 40, the levels of these hormones begins to drop, and this is why hormones and arthritis are connected. Hormones play an important role in the maintenance of bones and tissues throughout the body, and when they become less available in the body, good joint health is at risk.
Hormone Therapy for Arthritis
The best option for treating arthritis with hormone therapy is to consult with your doctor, as hormone therapies are only effective when diagnosed and treated by a professional. Since hormones represent a critical metabolism that is very intricate, it is vital that a trained professional determines that you have a need and carefully guides you through the therapy. Blindly taking hormonal supplements that are mailed to you can result in the worsening of symptoms of arthritis as well as introducing more side effects. Hormones are important messengers that require specific levels to function properly, so trust experience and results when looking for therapy options.