RA symptoms and PMT

Hi All,

Am writing to hear other experiences. I'm 2.5yrs into diagnosis, on Methotrexate injections 15mg and Enbrel injections and most of the time things are good. (I'm 31yrs) every month a week before my period my symptoms get worse.

My joint achiness goes up, along with my fatigue. It took me a while to notice the pattern but I really feel it is a cyclical thing.

1) does anybody else find this pattern?

2) i was considering starting taking a progesterone only contraceptive pill to try n keep my hormones more level , does anybody else do this and does it help?

Happy New Year to you all!

Thank you in advance :)

20 Replies

  • This may not appeal but I was fitted with a Mirena coil some years ago because of very heavy periods. It works by releasing progesterone and calming periods and PMT down. It worked very well for me I have to say. I certainly believe a lot of symptoms of RA are directly affected by hormonal surges. Why else would RA symptoms lessen or even disappear for some during pregnancy for example, only to return in many cases post childbirth? My RA symptoms faded completely when I had a one off period after a few years of none, and came back as the Oestrogen left my system. I couldn't understand this but when I saw a gynae a few months later, by which time I was on Prednisolone for the flare I'd just suffered, he explained that Oestrogen is in fact a natural steroid and works in much the same way as Prednisolone in the calming of inflammation and therefore of joint pain. It's good you've identified a pattern now so may well be worth speaking to your GP about this in the hope that they might be able to help you address it.

  • That's really interesting! May need to look into all the options and effects of both oestrogen n progesterone vs the Ca risks, side effects etc alongside all the other meds, never simple is it :)

    thank you for taking the time to reply, PJx

  • I never liked the contraceptive pill as it made me more 'moody'. I cannot remember whether there was any correlation between my periods and RA as it is a few years ago and between being pregnant I had a coil. My first ones were just plain but the last time I had a mirena fitted which was been good and unlike the plain one there is no bleeding or only slight spotting occasionally once settled and wish I had gone for that earlier. With other medication to take it is also something you don't have to think about. Farm

  • Thank you for your response, its always really helpful to hear what other people have tried PJx

  • Yes, my RA is more active the week before my period.

  • Do you do anything different at that time in anticipation or do you just take painkillers and rest more? PJx

  • The added mini-flare adds a lot in terms of overwhelming fatigue, so I just try not to do anything to tire myself out, and I increase my Tylenol intake as well. I mentioned it to my Rheumy that my RA increases about a week before my period (kinda like a mini-flare and he just said "thats interesting" and I have had a conversation about whether hormones play a role in the development of RA. I told him it must since your RA goes into remission if you become pregnant, and many more women, than men get RA, and a lot of women develop RA at menopausal age. My Rheumy thinks it is interesting, but doesn't give his opinion on it, I have to assume because its not proven medically. I know once you have developed RD you have it for life, there is no cure....but I suspect that one of the unknown 'triggers' that starts the disease may have something to do with hormones, or a combination of hormones and something unknown in the environment, as well as possibly something in the genomes, as my father had RA as well.

  • I started with 'joint problems' at 14 and although RA had not yet been diagnosed I saw a rheumy who put me on the pill because he believed the hormone balance would help. The first two I tried made things worse but then I started cilest and it helped. I've been on it ever since and the odd time I've had to miss a month or two I've had the worst flares. There is definitely something in it so it's worth looking in to. I think my old rheumy (prof Bird) published some stuff on it, if your trying to find some info. Hope that helps.

  • Thank you very much, Ill look up his papers and see what he has to say. Its also nice to know its not all in my head or 'typical PMT just being grumpy".

    New Year and thank you for your time in responding. PJx

  • I used to be under him.

  • Hi ... yes the monthly cycle has always affected my joints/RA as I have always bloated anyhow before RA so seem to do much more for about 4 or 5 days .. even my gums inflame with PMS. However as peri-meno is happening I'm not experiencing each month .. more like every three so not so bad. I cannot answer your question about POP, so sorry I don't know if it would help. NK

  • Hi ya, thank you for your reply, is nice to hear others experience so you don't feel so alone PJx

  • A good friend of mine took Evening Primrose Oil for PMS but I think she had to have quite a high dose to have the required effect. I confess I don't know too much about EPO. It is worth asking the doctor about it. I hope you can benefit from it. ;-) NK x

  • Have you tried evening primrose oil? It's very good for pmt and may help your pre menstrual flares.

  • Thank you, no I haven't, maybe a good place to start PJx

  • The good thing is evening primrose is drug free. I used to get it on prescription but it was stopped. My sister used to have awful pmt and eve primrose was brilliant. By the way you can take it at anytime of the day lol

  • Hi! Just wanted to say, i feel exactly the same, i always know when my period is on its way as my knees get really sore and my fatigue is bad!

    I came off a progesterone only pill a few months ago, but I'm going to ask to go back on it as my weeks were much more consistent.

    Take care

    Claire xxx

  • Hi Claire

    Thanks for replying... So you found the mini pill did level things out a bit? Did u have any side effects from the pill?

    Hope you feel better again soon


  • Hi!

    Yes it did level things out for me, i didn't get these mini flares that i have now pre period. The pill i took, you didn't get a break you just took it continually.

    I came off it because i thought it had made me put a bit of weight on and i was getting spots also i liked the idea of not having to take another medication. I stopped taking it a few months ago and don't think the pill was to blame after all. I had alot of steroids last year. Im going to give it another go.

    If you do decide to try it, i hope it helps. You can stop taking it at anytime if it doesn't suit you.

    Claire x

  • Thank you for your feedback, think it may be worth a try, as you said you can always stop it again.

    Happy New Year!

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