Hormones and muscles

by Barbara
(Canandaigua, NY)

I have just found your website. I have a question about the effect of estrogen and/or proegesterone on muscles and ligaments. I am post menopausal and 66 years old. I tried synthetic HRT... it was terrible. Then found estradiaol and micronized progesterone and took it for over 6 years with good results. Went off it suddenly and by that time was really post meno... very little hormones left of my own, I think. Had severe pains and tightening and spasm of my leg muscles, starting in ankles, then progressed to lower arms and thighs. I also discovered I was hypothyoird all that time (just recently) and was not treated. Quesiton is - what effect do these hormones have on muscles and ligaments? Progesterone cream seems to relax the muscles and ease the pain. I have plans to return to bio HRT as soon as I get some tests done.

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Dec 28, 2007
Progesterone and pain
by: Wray

Dear Barbara. Arthritis symptoms are often associated with menopause. Recent studies have shown that oestrogen contributes to the exacerbation or enhancement of inflammatory activity in arthritis.

In addition to stimulating the inflammatory cytokines IL-1 and IL-6, it also stimulates matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), enzymes thought to be important in rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. Progesterone has an inhibitory effect on the expression of MMP. It has also been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects in fibroblast-like cells. It stimulates the production of IL-10 which inhibits inflammatory Th1 cytokine production.

One study found reductions in arthritis severity and patterns of cytokine production in nonpregnant, progesterone-implanted mice. Pregnancy itself is known to ameliorate the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Incidentally hypothyroid activity is often associated with the onset of menopause. Before you take synthetic thyroxine, please read the last article pasted below. Hope this helps! Take care Wray

J Rheumatol. 1990 Nov;17(11):1564.
J Endocrinol Invest. 1993 Sep;16(8):619-24.
Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research.
J Rheumatol. 2000 Jul;27(7):1622-31.
Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2000 Nov;26(4):805-23.
CANCERactive July 2007

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