However, some women might experience other symptoms during their periods, and joint pain could be one of them. Read on to know if experiencing joint pain during periods is normal.
Joint Pain During Periods: Is It Normal?
According to the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, some of the classic symptoms of menstruation that are quite common in every woman include lower back pain, abdominal cramping, sore breasts, bloating, irritability, mood swings, and fatigue. (1)
However, if you feel achy or discomfort in your joints during your periods, then know that you are not alone. This is generally normal.
Why Does Joint Pain Occur During Periods?
Joint pain occurs during the beginning of menstrual bleeding because your body experiences a dip in the level of estrogen. An article that was published in 2008 in “Reviews in Pain” mentioned that when there is a reduced level of estrogen, people experience more pain. (2)
Moreover, before and during the menstrual period there is an increase in the number of prostaglandins. This increased number of prostaglandins can play a major part in triggering pain in the joints and muscles. This information was published in the “International Journal Of Environmental Research and Public Health” in 2020. (3)
Prostaglandins are the hormones that allow your uterus to contract, constrict blood vessels, and eventually reduce the amount of blood lost during your menstrual period. They can also increase sensitivity and also make joint pain worse by triggering inflammation in the body. The inflammation occurs because during the beginning of your menstruation, the lining of the uterus is shed and prostaglandins are released into the local bloodstream and other neighboring tissues.
Joint Pain Gets Severe During Period If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis(RA), you might experience severe pain in your joints during your periods. Most days, you might tolerate the pain, but during and right before your period the pain gets worse.
A small study that was published in the journal named, “Rheumatology” has mentioned that women having rheumatoid arthritis reported increased fatigue, and pain during and right before their menstrual period. (4)
Steps To Ease Joint Pain During Periods
Following some simple steps can help you soothe those joint pain issues during periods.
Take Enough Rest
The most important thing that should never be ignored during periods is to take enough rest. Be kind to yourself and keep yourself relaxed while you are on your period.
Use of NSAIDs and Oral Contraceptives
NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen can be beneficial when you are experiencing joint pain during periods. Take NSAIDs two or three days before the beginning of your menstrual period.
Alternatively, you can also try oral contraceptives. These contraceptives can help in minimizing the fluctuations in hormones contributing to the pain in your joints during periods.
Heat and Cold Compress
You can get relief from joint pain and stiffness by using a warm compress. Even a cold compress can be helpful as it aids in getting rid of inflammatory symptoms like swelling. So, you can try both these hot and cold therapy when you experience joint pain during periods.
Exercise when done gently can help you ease different symptoms that are experienced during periods and also help in strengthening your joints and muscles, and fighting fatigue. You can do some gentle movements every hour to get relief from pain and stiffness in your joints. Try low-impact workouts, such as pilates or yoga.
Calm Down, It Is Normal To Have Joint Pain During Periods!
You should not worry if you experience mild joint pains during your periods, because this is normal and many women experience this. Taking proper rest, diet, and gentle exercise can generally get you enough relief.
However, if your pain continues or gets worse even after periods then you should make an appointment with your doctor, as joint pain might be associated with other conditions like osteoarthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia.