15. Joint issues
There is a scene from the famous comedy film - Monty Python's Life of Brian - where an old man goes to answer a knock at the door, muttering “my nose is knackered, my eyes are grizzled, my legs are old and bent” - well you know what fellow hotties? This is something we can relate to too, as we kind of know exactly how he feels, and can add to that roll call of ailments, back, shoulders, feet and just about any other part of the body you can think of!
It’s time to shine a light on the next symptom of our meandering menopausal journey: Joint issues.
Do you ever get up in the morning and think “I need to bypass work or my usual daily routine, and head straight to the knackers yard?” We understand your dilemma fellow hotties, and yes, we are well aware that most people experience aching joints as they get older.
We’re not complaining for the sake of it, nor looking for tea and sympathy, although that would be nice on occasion. We are just after a little consideration and understanding that this symptom can be a right royal pain in the backside - oooh and that aches a fair bit as well!! We feel your pain, Your Majesty…
For many of us peri/menopausal women, musculoskeletal niggles are an all too real symptom, resulting in decreased mobility and flexibility, affecting the hips and knees in particular. This can be rather debilitating and - before you ask the question ‘why?’ - you already know the answer…
Yep, it’s those bloody hormones causing all these damn problems. The chief culprit being oestrogen which is responsible for maintaining our joint fluid levels. Oestrogen affects our cartilage, the connective tissue in our joints, as well as the natural replacement of bone in our bodies, so it can play a big part in inflammation and pain.
Another contributing factor is weight gain which unfortunately seems to go hand-in-hand with the menopause thus placing increased strain on our weary joints. And don’t forget to factor in dehydration which we hotties are prone to, as this also can lead to or exacerbate joint stiffness.
If you have an underlying joint condition, sometimes it can be devilishly difficult to differentiate between aches and pains from the menopause, and those from arthritis. Just because you have aches and pains doesn’t necessarily mean you have arthritis, so it’s essential to know when to seek help and advice from a medical professional.
During the menopause, women are more susceptible to osteoarthritis (particularly in the hands) and possibly rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear to the joints as opposed to rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease, meaning your immune system - which usually fights infection - mistakenly attacks the cells that line your joints, making them stiff, swollen and painful. It is essential to see your GP and have investigations to get a definitive diagnosis of either of these conditions.
Meanwhile, how can we give a helping hand to these aching joints of ours?
Sleep: Quality sleep is essential for a well-rested body, as pain can feel a whole lot worse when you are tired. You know what to do hotties as we’ve covered this at length, in our essential ‘Hotties Menopause Manual’.
Over-the-counter medications: There are many over-the-counter medications that can help alleviate your symptoms of pain and inflammation, including painkillers, anti-inflammatory gel/cream rubs. Do speak to the pharmacist first to make sure that what you buy is right for you and doesn’t affect any other medication you might be on.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): There is evidence that HRT can help the musculoskeletal pains caused by the menopause by restoring hormone levels and can also be beneficial for arthritis too, however, this is something you will need to discuss with your GP.
Stress reduction: Do whatever you can to relieve stress and anxiety and depression as this can exacerbate musculoskeletal pain. Practice meditation - we have an archive full of guided meditations with our resident hypnotherapist and spiritual healer Joolz Raven Stewart! Or, take up yoga which can help to relax your body physically and emotionally, improving stretch and flexibility which can help alleviate aching muscles. There’s also pilates which is a good way of improving strength and posture.
Weight control: Controlling your weight will help enormously with musculoskeletal pain, so a healthy and nutritious diet is essential. This doesn’t mean you have to feel miserable, deprived, or have to live a boring life, surviving on lettuce leaves and water,. You just need to eat the rainbow from all the food groups, drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and, most importantly, remember: ‘EVERYTHING IN MODERATION’, as a little of what you fancy does you good.
Throw in a little exercise, walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, or whatever floats your boat and Bob’s your uncle! This combination will ensure you are a fit and hot-to-trot hottie in no time! #LookGoodFeelGood
AND…don’t forget we have our favourite mood- and move-busting exercise: dancing like nobody is watching in the comfort of our own homes. So fellow hotties, get ready for this month’s joint jiggling tunes.
Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations
Keep On Movin’ - Five
Live It Up - Mental As Anything
Ooh Aah (Just A Little Bit) - Gina G
Ride On Time - Black Box
Rhythm Is a Dancer - Snap!
Scream - Usher
Set You Free - N-Trance
Something Kinda Ooh - Girls Aloud
Take On Me - A-Ha
Titanium - David Guettea feat. Sia
Up - The Saturdays
Walk Like an Egyptian - The Bangles
Walk of Life - Dire Straits
Wings of a Dove - Madness