Menopause and Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a progressive joint disease characterized by joint swelling and tenderness of one or more joints, commonly affecting the hands, feet, spine, hips, and knees.

It is a wear and tear disease-causing cartilage (the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint) to break down and affecting the entire joint. It also causes weakening of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attach muscle to bone and also inflammation of the joint lining.

Menopause causes a reduction in the levels of estrogen hormone causing adverse effects on bone and joints causing an exacerbation of osteoarthritis.

Weight gain is a common problem faced after menopause. Joint pains cause limitation of mobility thus causing weight gain which further puts pressure on the affected joints.

 Symptoms develop slowly and worsen over time:

  Pain, Stiffness, Tenderness, and Swelling: Affected joints might hurt during or after movement.

  •  These may be worse in the morning, improving as the day continues. Larger joints such as hips and  knees experience higher impacts and are more prone to arthritis in menopausal women.
  •  Pain increases by walking, squatting, or ascending or descending stairs.
  • Being overweight, the nature of household work, and using Indian toilets all predispose women to OA

Loss of Flexibility: One might not be able to move their joint through its full range of motion.

Grating Sensation. Feeling a grating sensation on using the joint, and even hearing popping or crackling sounds.

Bone Spurs. These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, can form around the affected joint.



  • X-rays.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can help provide more information in complex cases.

Lab tests

  • Blood Tests and Joint Fluid Analysis to determine whether the pain is caused by gout or infection rather than osteoarthritis.


A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, nuts, cereals and vegetables, fluids,

Vitamins D, Calcium, and Magnesium.

Physical Exercises

  • Stretching

Stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce stiffness, and increase range of motion.

  • Walking

It is essential to wear proper shoes and stay hydrated, even if the walking is not strenuous. It is often sensible to walk slowly initially and then increase the pace when possible.

  • Yoga
  • Water exercises: Swimming and other gentle water exercises can increase flexibility range of motion and strength.
  • Cycling
  • Hand exercises Bending the wrists up and down, slowly curling the fingers, spreading the fingers wide on a table, and squeezing a stress ball can all help increase strength and flexibility in the hands.
  • Gardening


  • Exercises
  • Massages
  • Providing patients with walking aids
  • Electrotherapy

Medical Treatment

  • Pain killers.
  • Many medicines are available that claim to reform the smooth hyaline cartilage of the knee, especially in the early stages. Examples: Chondroitin Sulphate, MSM, Omega fatty acids, etc.
  • Replenishing the levels of estrogen hormone forms the basis of treatment and prevention.
  • Estrogen replacement therapy under the guidance of the doctor could be done.


  • Squatting is to be avoided at all costs.
  • Climbing and getting down from stairs to be avoided.
  • Walking a long distance is a complete no.
  • All weight-bearing exercises should be avoided.


About the Author: Dr. Lalita Vaitheeswaran is a gynecologist from Delhi-NCR and is involved in social awareness programs for the general masses through her writings.


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  1. Thankyou didi for such valuable information. I’m going through this phase of my life and facing many problems. It was awesome information and looking forward to more information from such with growing age

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