Wednesday 6 March 2019

Marla Ahlgrimm | Hormones and Arthritis

Marla Ahlgrimm
Your hormones play a role in everything you do, says Marla Ahlgrimm. That includes how you feel when you get sick or begin to experience the discomfort of certain conditions, such as arthritis. Here, the women’s health author and hormone expert explains how these invisible chemicals can contribute to pain.

Q: Is arthritis common in women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, it is. And rheumatoid arthritis is even more common. It’s estimated that for every man that experiences rheumatoid arthritis, three women will also suffer. Hormones may be the reason that the fairer sex is more affected.

Q: Do female-specific hormones have an effect on rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It appears so. There is much evidence to suggest that estrogen can improve symptoms of all types of arthritis. Many women with RA find their symptoms are much less noticeable while they are pregnant. On the opposite end of that, however, the same women typically experience a relapse within the first month or two after giving birth.

Q: What age are women usually diagnosed with RA?

Marla Ahlgrimm: That’s an interesting question. The vast majority of cases are diagnosed between a woman’s 40th and 50th birthday. This also happens to coincide with menopause, the time in a woman’s life where hormone levels change drastically. Estrogen levels drop during this time, which appears to be a contributing factor.

Q: Can taking an estrogen supplement help?

Marla Ahlgrimm: All women are different, and each will have factors that determine her arthritis treatment. Some women report relief when taking hormone therapy, but the accepted treatment is a combination of drugs that address inflammation.


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