Flares linked to (female) hormones?

Flares linked to (female) hormones?

Sorry guys but this is a girlie topic! ;)

I've noticed that, no matter how my RA is generally, it flares up really badly in the days leading up to my period. It only lasts for a few days but it really is rather aggressive.

Does anyone else experience the same? How do you manage it? I'm on the pill (microgynon) and take 2 packets back to back which seems to help a bit but it still means that I get my pre-period flares every 7 to 8 weeks when I take my 7 day break.

10 Replies

  • I think the immune system is governed by hormones - not the 'female' ones, but hormones nonetheless. And RA is a systemic disease, on some level it affects, and is affected by, everything that happens in the body. I've certainly heard many women with PsA say similar things to you. My PsA first raised it's ugly head in adolescence, then went quiet, then came back with a vengeance after menopause. Plus these diseases tend to ease off during pregnancy, then flare afterwards.

    Trouble is, it's hard to get joined up thinking, joined-up knowledge from doctors. Is the pill the best answer? I don't know but I'd like to know what a really good rheumatologist thinks about that .... maybe it is the best thing or maybe it exacerbates the problem. Is this something you'd feel happy asking your rheumy about? Or is he / she strictly a 'swollen joints' man or woman who doesn't look outside the box?

  • Female hormones seems to have some similar effects to prednisolone in that they are steroids. Varying levels and the fluid retention that occurs in some people during their period can have a bad effect.

    I know that some people on here have mentioned that they are better when their hormone levels are stable. It is possible to take a low dose combined pill for three months on, one week off (there is a pack designed for just that, but you can do it with current 21 day packs), or you could change to a progestogen only preparation which you take daily as a pill, or on a intra-uterine device (IUD). The latter would then keep your hormone levels level as well as giving better effectiveness.

    Have a search for some other posts on here - I know it has been discussed before.

    There is no reason for our bodies to have a period each month - they are designed for pregnancy or lactation!

  • I'm no longer on the pill, and feel much better in general, but I don't think my flare-ups were much worse pre-period anyway. I read an interesting article on hormones and inflammation just yesterday, maybe you'll find some pointers: womensinternational.com/con... - go directly to "Hormones and inflammation" if you don't want to read the whole thing. Since oestrogens can have both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory roles, it may be worthwhile looking into changing the type of pill you use, as oldtimer suggested, to stabilise your hormone levels.

  • Yes. I noticed last Spring that I flared worse right before getting my period. Now that my symptoms are well-controlled, I don't notice it as much though.

  • Someone asked something similar recently but can't remember who!! Doh! .. Sorry .. but perhaps if you type in on the Search Box above right, it might bring those responses uo for you. I do not take the combined or POP at present, so cannot comment on that but I do find that approaching P day I feel much more flare-y and my joints feel full .. and my gums too .. they feel inflamed/jumpy like I have been to the dentist and he ha prodded them!. It sets a mini flare going sometimes but it only lasts 3 - 4 days then vanishes, thank goodness. I think someone recommended Evening Primrose on the thread I am referencing about but not sure in what quantity as a friend if mine with a heavy cycle had to take a hgh does to regulate her problems. I once read bananas and other carbs like oatmeal helped before P day so could adjusting diet prior to your period. I am sure you probably do this anyhow. Good luck. NK x

  • Was it this one Julie? healthunlocked.com/nras/pos...

  • Thank you NMH ... that was the one! ;-) My memory is sort of half good at the mo! Only half!! ;-) NK x

  • I'm no different most of the time.... pity it's usually the wrong half I need to rummage in lol! I do have moments of brilliance though! :D

  • LOL ... I think my brain needs a Spring Clean! Jettison some of the mad stuff in there whirling about! ;-)

  • Haha! :D

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