Low hormone levels causes joint pain

Category: Blog

Here is some very interesting research that explores the differences men and women experience in their osteoarthritic symptoms. The differences are based in hormones.

This study come from a combined research team from Georgia Institute of Technology, Yale University School of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Here are the research highlights.

  • The prevalence of osteoarthritis is higher in women than in men. The differences get greater as we age with more women than men suffering.
  • Sex-specific differences in the properties of osteoarthritic joint tissues may permit the development of sex-specific therapies. In other words, treatments for women and treatments for men.
  • Sex hormones regulate cartilage and bone development and homeostasis (tissue growth) in a sex-dependent manner. Women one way, men another.
  • Recent studies show that the vitamin D3 also has sex-specific effects on musculoskeletal cells, suggesting that vitamin D3 may play a role in osteoarthritis-related sex-specific differences. This means that vitamin D3 helps women through the estrogen pathways and men through the testosterone pathways.
  • Estrogen and testosterone had an impact of female cartilage cells, Testosterone and estrogen had an impact on male cartilage cells.

The researchers suggested that underlying sex differences in knee tissues affected by osteoarthritis have implications for different prevention methods and treatments for men and women. Specifically hormones and vitamin D3. 1

The connection between low hormone levels and joint pain is not new

Doctors have been investigating low hormone levels in women and its effect on chronic joint pain. Here are some of the findings.

  • Investigators in China have concluded that post-menopausal estrogen reduction can induce cartilage loss and joint deterioration in  the hip and knee. 2
  • Other researchers confirmed this can be treated in their study that found estrogen use in postmenopausal women resulted in a modest but sustained reduction in the frequency of joint pain.3
  • Women do not do as well as men after joint replacement because of testosterone deficiency. Meaning that low testosterone can inhibit healing and repair. 4
  • Low estrogen levels are associated with female muscle loss post-menopause and increase body mass. Increase body mass – weight is associated with joint pain.5

Recently we reported on investigations that made a very clear connection between estrogen and joint pain. Post-menopausal women, who often suffer from joint pain, could find some long-term relief by taking estrogen-only medication, that according to a recent study based on the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) that was released in  journal, Menopause.

In this study from Northwestern University, researchers confirmed that “post-menopausal women who received estrogen-only medication reported significantly lower frequency of joint pain than women who received a placebo.“6

At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we use bio-identical hormones (BHRT). Bio-identical hormones are different than synthetic hormones because they are structurally and chemically the same as the three estrogens naturally produced by the body – Estriol, Estradiol and Estrone and natural progesterone, testosterone and others, depending on the needs of the patient.

Synthetic hormones – namely conjugated estrogens feature a manipulated form of the three estrogens while Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA), which is found in Provera, is a synthetic form of progesterone.

The body responds to and metabolizes synthetic hormones differently than bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones are far safer and more effective than synthetics and, therefore, have grown in use. At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we have been treating patients for more than 25 years with BHRT. Each is compounded by pharmacists – meaning they are handmade using a mortar and pestle – so that they are customized for each patient based on the strength needed by each individual according to her needs and wants.

1 Pan Q, O’Connor MI, Coutts RD, et al. Characterization of osteoarthritic human knees indicates potential sex differences. Biology of Sex Differences. 2016;7:27. doi:10.1186/s13293-016-0080-z.

2. Wang Q, Liu Z, Wang Y, Pan Q, Feng Q, Huang Q, Chen W. Quantitative Ultrasound Assessment of Cartilage Degeneration in Ovariectomized Rats with Low Estrogen Levels. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2016 Jan;42(1):290-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2015.08.004. Epub 2015 Oct 21.

3. Chlebowski RT, Cirillo DJ, Eaton CB, Stefanick ML, Pettinger M, Carbone LD, Johnson KC, Simon MS, Woods NF, Wactawski-Wende J. Estrogen alone and joint symptoms in the Women’s Health Initiative randomized trial. Menopause. 2013 Jun;20(6):600-8. doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e31828392c4.

4. Perego S, Grasso D, Bodini BD, Cavaiani F, De Santis C, Ursino N, Pelosi C, Banfi G, Lombardi G. Perisurgical and intra-rehabilitative salivary steroid hormone profiles in bicompartmental arthroplasty.J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2015 Oct-Dec;29(4):953-60.

5. Pöllänen E, Kangas R, Horttanainen M, Niskala P, Kaprio J, Butler-Browne G, Mouly V, Sipilä S, Kovanen V. Intramuscular sex steroid hormones are associated with skeletal muscle strength and power in women with different hormonal status. Aging Cell. 2015 Apr;14(2):236-48. doi: 10.1111/acel.12309. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

6. http://menopause.northwestern.edu/content/estrogen-may-relieve-post-menopausal-joint-pain-study-says