Growing Pains: Menopause Edition by Dr. Pamela Dee^

Dr. Pamela Dee, OB/GYN, is a paid spokesperson for Estroven®. The information provided herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice or to replace professional medical care. You should always seek the advice of a medical professional before starting any new medication or dietary supplement. The opinions stated herein are those solely of the writer and do not portray the opinions of the Estroven® brand, i-Health, Inc., or DSM.

Dr. Pamela Dee^ (Dr. Pam) is America’s leading menopause expert & OB/GYN, and she is on a mission to encourage honest dialogue about the physical and emotional symptoms that accompany menopause. Her goal is to de-stigmatize menopause and start the “Menopause Romance Revolution.” Her new film, LOVE, SWEAT & TEARS shares an empowering message of hope and action. Dr. Pam^ won’t rest until every woman knows the truth about menopause—that there is hope, and that the third part of a woman’s life can be the best and most romantic.

Joint pain can have a vast impact on a woman’s life, and unfortunately, up to 60% of midlife women report joint aches and pains. Joint pain, loss of range of motion and loss of overall use of a joint can result from issues with bone and cartilage, inflammation of joint spaces, and the amount and quality of joint fluid. Bone loss begins during the menopausal transition and is the highest one year before the final menstrual period and two years after completion of menopause.1 This pain can lead to lack of mobility, limitation of activity, a diminished recreational and social life and interference with work.2

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is characterized by a loss of bone mass and a decline in bone quality, and has a fivefold greater prevalence in women than in men. Common problems that may contribute to osteoporosis include celiac disease, gastric bypass, gastrointestinal surgery, high caffeine intake, excessive alcohol intake, smoking, and use of blood thinners, seizure medication and anti-estrogen chemotherapy agents. A higher peak bone mass achieved early in life correlates with lower fracture risk later in life, making exercise important at all ages. Weight bearing, resistance exercises and aerobics have a beneficial effect on spine bone mineral density; walking is best for the maintenance of the hips.3 Physical activity, adequate nutrition and overall good health also are imperative.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is inflammatory joint pain that results from the wear and tear of everyday life on our bodies and is a disease in which the x-ray evidence of joint damage frequently does not correlate with the presence and severity of joint pain and disability. Recommendations include weight loss, performing weight-bearing exercises and muscle-strengthening exercises, taking the appropriate amount of vitamin D and calcium, stopping smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, reducing alcohol intake and adopting fall-prevention strategies.

Three Exercises for Joint Pain

Goals should be set to better manage joint pain. Mobility is the first step to making regular exercise more feasible. Loss of at least 10% of body weight through a combination of diet and exercise has been associated with a 50% reduction in pain scores in overweight patients in as little as 18 months.2 Start with these short-term, achievable steps:

1. Start slowly with stretching exercises or yoga

2. Next, move on to walking for 10 minutes, three days a week

3. Once that is possible, aim to walk for 30 minutes every day

Other Options for Joint Pain

Vitamin D3 and calcium supplementation are especially important for bone quality—vitamin D deficiency results in softer, poorly mineralized bone which can lead to osteomalacia in adults,3 and prolonged calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis. A few supplements such as chondroitin and fish oil may have some effects on patients with a mild form of these diseases. Surgical treatment is achieved by total joint replacement and is recommended in severe cases only.



1 https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-menopause
2 https://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-the-management-of-osteoarthritis
3 ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 129, Osteoporosis 2012

^Dr. Pamela Dee is a paid spokeswoman for Estroven®.