I am 50 and have been in perimenopause for some time. I just wanted to post here to see if anyone else has suffered extreme joint pain as a result of fluctuating estrogen.
Quick history: regular as clockwork from the age of 13 – up to and after the two pregnancies in my thirties. Then aged 47 I started to get very heavy and irregular periods. Then I went for six months with no period at all, then two very scant light periods in quick succession. I have had nothing now for two months but I do feel as if it might happen soon as sore boobs etc.
I have never had a hot flush. I do however have lots of other peri symptoms, including insomnia, heart palpitations and skipped beats, and a strange ‘rushing’ or whooshing feeling which starts in the abdomen which I think is an ‘adrenal’ surge. I also have other vague and odd symptoms, dry eyes and inside my nose, and a really vile taste in my mouth sometimes – I mean really vile, like a chemical taste, unrelated to anything I have eaten. I also have odd tingling skin sometimes, which I can only describe as feeling like ‘cold’ sunburn!
However, about the joint pain. Three months ago I literally woke up one morning with a sore left arm/elbow. Over a few days, the pain then moved into my shoulders, and I got really worried as if was incredibly painful, and showed no signs of going away, it just got worse and worse. It is worse in the morning when I wake up, I am as stiff as a board. It is on my mind 24/7. Doing normal things is almost impossible – I have problems carrying shopping, drying my hair,walking the dog, driving…everything seems to hurt . I have never suffered from arthritic pain, and I went to the doctor thinking I had some awful bone disease, or even polymyalgia. I was told I had nerve pain!! The GP was terrible and made me feel like a hypochondriac and it was all in my mind. I was told I had good range of movement, and no inflammation. But I am in agony, and i am not imagining it. I made the mistake of asking Dr.Google too, which is never a good idea as I scared myself half to death. I never even thought it could be related to hormones or menopause, as the pain was just SO bad and I had never heard of joint pain being a symptom. I mean I have read than meno can be bad for some women, and I expected hot flushes etc, but I didnt realise it meant pain like this.
Anyway – for the last few weeks I have been having worsening pain which has spread from left elbow and both shoulders, into left hip, both elbows and now my knees. All my joints are cracking and popping loudly and even my husband can hear the awful grating in my neck and my knees….I sound like a one man band as I go up and down the stairs!
I went In for my three yearly Cervical smear on Monday, and could hardly get up on the examining couch I was so stiff and sore. Womans health is dealt with by the Nurse Practitioners in our large practice (15 GP’s) and when the NP saw my discomfort she asked me what was wrong. It turns out she has a real interest in womens health, and has been involved in HRT trials and research for many years. She informed me that my symptoms all point to fluctuating estrogen, and possible thyroid involvement. She told me a load of stuff about estrogen and cartilage, dry mucosa etc, the details of which I can’t remember now but which made so much sense when she explained it – even down to the foul taste and tingling skin I have also experienced on and off for months which are both known side effects of estrogen surge as the ovaries go a bit haywire. Asmall percentage of women are very receptive to estrogen fluctuations which involve cartilage, which mainly manifest as abnormally severe joint pain/menopausal arthritis but it is not an ‘obvious’ symptom of perimenopause.
I asked why the GP was no help, and she just raised her eyebrows when I told her which male GP it was, and told me to make another appointment as soon as possible with a specific GP (who must be more knowledgeable about womens health.) Going in tomorrow to see her.
I can’t do HRT as I have a heart condition, but maybe I can do estrogen cream, or phytoestrogen/soy.) It could last for a long time I guess until I come out the other side !
So i have not yet been diagnosed, but it sounds like it could be caused by estrogen. Sorry this has been so long….but anyone else out there feel the same way I do???