Feeling achy and sore is a common problem during menopause, but like everything else, women experience different types of pains and to varying intensity and frequency. Today, I take a look at some common menopausal aches and pains and what you can do to help ease these pains.
Feeling aches and pains is a really common menopause symptom. The problem is there are so many different types, and women can experience them in various intensities and various frequencies. And sometimes, they can come, and go, and disappear for a while, and then come back again.
So today, I thought I would look at some of the common aches and pains and what you can do to help yourself.
Pain sensitivity during menopause
Pain in the menopause is not really well understood. It's generally known that there is a link between falling oestrogen, pain, and inflammation. But also, that our sense of pain can increase during menopause, especially due to things like weight gain, poor sleep, and stress. So, all of these things can contribute together to make us feel more aches and pains.
Common aches and pains you might experience
There are several aches and pains which can crop up during menopause. Let's take a look at some of the more common ones and what you can do to help ease them:
1. Joint pain
Joint pain can happen anywhere. It can be one single joint. Somebody can say, "Oh, I've got a really sore finger, and it's worse in the morning." And that's it. For others, it can be aches and pains in the joints all over. So, there's no rhyme or reason for this. It can just depend on the person.
This is caused mainly by two reasons. One is low oestrogen, which can affect the ability of your ligaments and tendons to stretch, so they can shrink. And what happens then is that it pulls the joints tight, and that's when you start to feel stiffness, and aches and pains, and possibly, a little bit of inflammation.
Secondly, falling oestrogen can also make us dehydrated. And dehydration, again, will affect the joints, causing mobility issues, and especially first thing in the morning, you get that achiness and stiffness that doesn't go away until you start moving about.
What can help?
So, it's really important to drink plenty of water. Honestly, it can be so good for joint aches and pains, so don't forget the water. You can also look at supplements such as fish oil, or if you're vegetarian or vegan, you can look at a flaxseed oil.
2. Muscle pain
Muscle pain during menopause can sometimes make you feel as if you've just run a marathon. You can get them anywhere, but it does tend to be in the arms, the legs, the shoulders, and the back of the neck.
Some women find they get muscle ache in the lung. So, they get very uncomfortable if they take a deep breath, or if they bend down, or twist around.
This one is mainly due to low magnesium, and they do know that there is a very specific link between falling oestrogen and the body's ability to absorb and neutralise magnesium.
What can help?
So, for this particular issue, magnesium is one of the best supplements you can take. You would be looking at roughly 150 to 200 milligrams of magnesium daily.
Don't forget the water because dehydration can be an issue as well. Not enough protein in your diet can be another factor, so look at your diet. Are you getting a decent size portion of protein at every meal? If not, you may find upping your protein can help.
And exercise, if you are not moving, if you are not exercising regularly, then that can contribute to muscle aches and pains. It's one of these things, use it or lose it.
3. Breast pain
Breast pain tends to be more common in the peri-menopause whilst you still may be getting periods of some kind, although it can happen during the menopause as well.
There tend to be several issues here. It can be dehydration. Breast tissue is almost like a sponge, and if you are dehydrated, the body will find places to store water. And if you find that your breasts are getting really rock hard, especially just before a period, very often, that's the dehydration.
It can also be due to fluctuating hormones, again, just before a period. After menopause, some women find it can be cyclical. So although you're not getting any periods, you may still get a bit of a hormonal cycle, so breast pain and tenderness maybe you'll get for a few days every month.
What can help?
Eventually, that will go as your hormones start to settle down. But for those of you, especially in peri-menopause, if your periods are still reasonably regular, you could try the herb Agnus castus which is known to help with breast pain.
Remember the water, really important, especially just before your period is due. And some women find that Kelp can be very helpful for breast tenderness, so maybe that's worth trying.
This is a really common one. It was quite a surprise to find this, but many women do suffer from headaches. It can be posture if you're sitting for so long at a desk, then you can just get really stiff behind your neck and on your shoulders, and that can contribute to tension headaches.
But the main thing here is really simple things. It's dehydration, and it can also be low blood sugars as well can trigger headaches.
My Self-Care Tip: Drink water to ease headaches and joint pain during menopause
Watch my self-care video tip to find out how much water you should be drinking to help ease aches and pains during menopause, including headaches and joint pain:
Other triggers can be caffeine. A lot of women find that caffeine and high salt and sugar foods can trigger headaches. So if you're getting headaches regularly, it may be worth doing a little food and drink diary for a week to see if you can find any links by what you're eating and drinking.
And normally, if it's something that's going to trigger a headache, you'll get a headache quite soon afterward.
5. Dental pain
This can seem quite a strange one but several things can happen here to cause dental problems. As your oestrogen starts to fall, it can affect the gums. Your gums can start to recede which will leave your teeth much more vulnerable to decay.
So you can get really sore gums. Your gums can bleed. That can eventually lead to loosening teeth which can give dental pain.
It can also be just because you're not getting enough calcium in your diet to keep the teeth really stable.
What can help?
This is one here, if it's bleeding gums, if it's sore gums, if it's receding gums, there is a supplement called CoQ10 which can be very, very helpful.
Also make sure you drink plenty of water because the dehydration can do it, especially if you're getting a dry mouth and sore teeth, too.
Watch what toothpaste you use because a lot of the normal toothpaste contains an awful lot of chemicals.
And these can really upset sore, inflamed, and sensitive gums. In this situation, though, it's always a good idea just to double-check with your dentist. So the other things you can do here to manage pain is to look at your stress levels, maybe take some nice, calming stress remedies, or add in a vitamin B complex.
What else can help ease aches and pains during menopause?
If sleep is an issue, and they know that poor sleep raises our perception of pain, you could look at our lovely Dormeasan which is licensed for sleep. And remember that relaxation. It can be very, very helpful for all sorts of menopause problems. That's a really important one, generally.
And try and stay active if you can. If you're moving about every day, that can produce feel-good chemicals, which will lift our mood and that will reduce our pain perception.
So I hope you found this one helpful. If any of you out there have experienced any other types of pain, and you're maybe wondering how you can cope with them, please, let us know.
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Hello lovely ladies, my name is Eileen and I have worked in the Education Department at A.Vogel for over 18 years, lecturing and advising on many health concerns via the Helpline, including the menopause and its dreaded symptoms.
My own personal experience of going through the menopause (and surviving it), which I regularly blog about, as well as that of hundreds of menopause women who ring the helpline or email me every day, allows me to offer my guidance, advice and sometimes just a much needed shoulder to cry on, to menopausal women all over the world.
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Menopause support – Soy Isoflavones for all stages of the menopause