Aches, Pains, and Menopause
Aches and pains are a very common symptom of the menopause. Big changes to your body and your hormones can leave your joints aching, and you might find that your range of motion changes, too. Some women find that they feel stiff. Even more women describe feeling pain in their breasts and nipples, and experience pain in the pelvic area during or after sex. There are many ways to cope with these symptoms, and we’ve gathered up our best advice to help you manage the aches and pains that come with the menopause.
This guide will cover:
- Joint pain
- Breast pain
- Period pain
- Pain after - or during - sex
Why do aches and pains happen during the menopause?
Falling oestrogen levels cause big changes in the overall lubrication of your body. Dry skin, vaginal dryness, itchy eyes, and even mood swings are all a function of fluctuating and decreasing hormone levels. Sore joints are no different. As oestrogen levels fall and change, your joints and ligaments and tendons become less lubricated. This can lead to stiffness and pain. You might also notice redness, inflammation and swelling near some joints.
The menopause also causes your bone density to deteriorate and can lead to arthritis or osteoporosis - both of which can cause tremendous joint pain. If you have a family history of osteoporosis or know that you are at risk of developing it, speak to your doctor so that you can make a plan to handle it. Similarly, if your range of motion and inflammation in your joints becomes severely limited, see your doctor.
What should I do to manage joint pain?
Joint pain is common during the menopause but it can leave you feeling frustrated and sore - even after a “simple” activity like carrying the groceries in from the car, or trying to work in the garden.
- Try a soothing bath: A soothing bath is a perfect way to relax the joints and muscles all over your body. Heat can increase circulation near sore and aching joints, bringing in new oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to reduce pain and inflammation. Try adding a soothing oil to the bath for extra relief.
- Use cooling relief: Sometimes, a cooling gel or compress is all that’s needed to soothe aching muscles and joints. Try using the GelO pillow mat for convenient and flexible relief. You can also use cooling gels or homemade ice packs to relieve tension and strain.
- Try hemp body oil: Hemp cannabinoid is known to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that in addition to reducing the strain around your joints and muscles, it will also help to relieve your pain. Rub a little hemp oil into your skin for quick relief.
- Comfort products: Extra cushions and supports can help to take the strain off specific parts of your body as you manage aches and pains during the menopause. We love the iBeani cushion for this exact purpose. Instead of having to hold your iPad or tablet at a funny angle, the iBeani allows you to position it wherever is most comfortable.
- Warm massage: An at-home massage is a comfortable way to gently soothe your body. Massagers for your neck, shoulders and feet are easy to use, and some can be repurposed to be used on your lower back. Your tension will melt away!
What can I do about sore breasts and sore nipples during the menopause?
Many women experience sore breasts and sore nipples during the menopause. Although it can feel uncomfortable, a light massage or natural balm might help to relieve your pain and tenderness.
- Use a soothing balm: We love balms that pair moisturising ingredients with active essential oils. Find a balm that contains ginger to help bring warm relief to your body. Lavender is also known to help reduce inflammation in the body. Simply apply to your breasts and nipples as needed.
- Try heat: Sitting for a few moments with a warm heatable wrap might help to increase circulation to your breasts and soothe any pain you’re experiencing. Some wraps come scented with a delightful lavender smell, so you can calm your body and relax at the same time.
- Adjust your bra: Wearing bras made of bamboo or gentle, comfortable fabric can help to relieve pain caused by wires, straps or other fabrics digging into and irritating your skin.
How can I cope with intense period pain?
It’s an unpleasant irony that your periods can actually become heavier as your menstruating days come to a close. Many women experience extremely heavy periods as an early sign of menopause.
- Exercise: A brisk walk or jog will help to get your energy flowing and lighten your period cramps. Try walking to improve your mood and reduce your pain.
- Heat wraps: Many women find that a hot water bottle or microwavable heat wrap can help to reduce period cramps and soothe associated pelvic pain. Curl up on the sofa or in bed to enjoy warm, calming comfort.
Why do I feel pain during - and after- sex?
Vaginal dryness is caused by fluctuating oestrogen levels during the menopause. When the vagina is poorly lubricated, sex - and a range of activities in everyday life - can become uncomfortable.
- See our guide to managing vaginal dryness and low libido during the menopause and then check out our fabulous range of lubricants and moisturisers.