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Have your hormones impacted your RA?

Does anyone experience significant RA flares before and during their menstrual cycle? I have researched that your estrogen drops before and during your monthly cycle; this seems to cause my RA to flare significantly. I’m in peri menopause, so my cycles are only 19 days long on average. This only leaves me about 7 days of “normal” RA pain in between the flares.

Hormones impacting RA



To make matters worse, I also have epilepsy and have been told that I cannot take estrogen because that can induce seizures. I’m wondering if anyone out there has dealt with an impact of hormones on your RA and how it was dealt with. Does it get even worse after menopause??

  1. Hi ! Thank you for your question. I'm hopeful other community members will chime in with their similar experiences or insight for you. We appreciate you being part of our community here 😀 Sending you love today, Alesandra (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

    1. Hello I have found myself in a similar situation. After tracking my flares, I did notice that things got worse just prior and during each cycle. So I definitely think there is a correlation between the two in my experience. Not to mention that I got to a point where I was on my period for nearly 2 months straight. Our RA bodies are sensitive things- weather, stress, and yes, I believe even hormones and play a role in the inflammation levels in our bodies. My gynecologist was able to test my hormone levels and offer me some options to manage my issues. So my suggestion would be to start there. But to really answer your question, yes, I've certainly experienced it too and you are not the only one. I hope your doctor can offer you some help too! -Leanne, Community Moderator

      1. Thank you! At least I know I am not crazy. My next step is to find a gyn who specializes in hormone therapy. They will hopefully have more options than my general gyn and can collaborate with my rheum and neurologist to find a solution or at least help.

        Stay well 😀

    2. Hi mbfights. I can tell you that my wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here) definitely notices increased RA activity around her menstrual cycle. We've talked to her rheumatologist about this and he said it absolutely makes sense. The flip-side is there is apparently a period in postovulatory phase when things can improve. This abstract discusses this topic: https://www.amjmed.com/article/0002-9343(83)90789-1/fulltext. Here is another article finding cyclical variation in disease activity: https://ard.bmj.com/content/annrheumdis/42/4/425.full.pdf. One thing that jumps out at me about these papers is the age - it really seems there is a place for more, updated research in this area, particularly considering all the new treatments that are now in use that could be impacted in some unknown way. Your doctor may have some additional insight on this topic. Wishing you the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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