Hormone therapy can be used to ease the many symptoms of menopause, including night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings. New research indicates that hormone therapy, specifically estrogen, can also be used towards joint pain.
Estrogen therapy improves joint pain in post-menopausal women who have had a hysterectomy. Studies looking at the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial analyzed 10,000+ post-menopausal women. 77% of these women reported join pain and 40% experienced joint swelling. After just one year, frequency of joint pain was lower among women who received estrogen-only therapy, compared to women who were in the placebo group (76.3% s. 79.2%) After three years, the subset of women who received estrogen continued to have joint pain less frequently than the placebo group.
The difference was seen only in women who received estrogen alone, vs. women with intact uteruses who took estrogen-progesterone combination therapy. Regardless, these findings give light to the many potential therapeutic values of estrogen. Post-menopausal women who are thinking about estrogen to alleviate their joint pain should consult their healthcare providers, and they should still follow the lowest dose of estrogen for the shortest amount of time needed to achieve the therapeutic goals desired. To understand more of the potential benefits (and risks) of estrogen or estrogen-progesterone therapy, visit our menopause website here.