Does Menopause Worsen Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms?

Last updated: July 2, 2021

Contributed by:
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
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Recent research has found that women with rheumatoid arthritis experience higher decline in physical ability after menopause. The study published in Rheumatology (2018) had over 8,000 participants with rheumatoid arthritis. If you have rheumatoid arthritis pre or post menopause, here’s what you absolutely need to know.

Greater Rheumatoid Arthritis Decline in Physical Function for Women Post Menopause

Losing more physical function due to arthritis can seriously debilitate your daily life. Women suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may need to prepare for faster decline after menopause, according to a new study. “The aim of this study was to investigate the association of menopause with functional status outcomes in women with RA,” noted the study.

Previous research has shown women with rheumatoid arthritis have new health issues when they experience shifts in hormones. This could be during reproductive life events, or menopause. The study found that pre-menopausal women didn’t experience the same decline as women post menopause.

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The research highlighted that menopause has a big physical impact when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis. The study also noted that there was a higher progression of the disease in women who have gone through menopause.

“Not only is this decline causing suffering for women, it is costly to both individuals and the healthcare system as a whole,” lead author of the study, Elizabeth Mollard explained. “Research is specifically needed on the mechanism connecting these variables with the eventual goal of identifying interventions that can maintain or improve function in postmenopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis.”

Menopause Symptoms

menopause symptoms

More Research is Needed, But the Association Between Menopause and Arthritis Could be a Growing Concern for Women

The authors of the study did note that more research is needed. This is a call to action for preparation for women with rheumatoid arthritis reaching those menopause years. It is certainly concerning, and hopefully more research will present a way to help combat the potentially debilitating problem for women.

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis and want to learn more about your disease as you approach menopause? With Your Doctors Online free Dr. Chat, you can get the answers you need and deserve. General physicians are available 24/7 on chat and you can sign up for 3 months of free health care as well, no credit card required.

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Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

About Richard Honaker M.D.

Dr. Richard Honaker has over 40 years of experience as a primary care physician specializing in several different areas of medicine. He is able to provide expert case review and analysis for insurance and workers compensation cases as well as providing online medical consultations as the Chief Medical Advisor for Your Doctors Online.

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