Worsening symptoms with Peri-menopause: Hi all, I’ve... - NRAS


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Worsening symptoms with Peri-menopause

Clare26 profile image
27 Replies

Hi all, I’ve not been on here for a long time. In the last 2 years I’ve seen a change in my psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Starting off with just the odd flare here & there in joints I hadn’t experienced before - then finding to recently having flares every week or different flares within a week.

I saw my reumatology nurse & they upped my methotrexate by 2.5mg but I’ve noticed no difference at all. I do notice much worse flares when I do get a period now & so I looked into this & found a whole load of info about menopause increasing flares & worsening inflammatory arthritis. No one has talked to me about this despite calling nurses & having appointments at GP’s etc. Has anyone else found flares worsening? I’m panicking I’m going backwards & I’ll never get this under control again. I work full time, have 2 children 8 & 11 & my partner doesn’t work. I’m really struggling & feel so tired, low, isolated & alone. I’m losing hope agsin after Hank go had 6 years of no flares & a well controlled disease. I’m just exhausted & my partner just doesn’t like me talking about my disease he’s useless.

27 Replies
Madmusiclover profile image

The whole build up to menopause’s for me was horrid so you have my sympathy. I have been on HRT not for 16 years: transformational (once I found the one that worked). Talk to your GP my lovely. (I didn’t have diagnosed RA at that point).

With regard to RA symptoms it looks like you need a drug review. Drugs can stop being effective.

Reach out, rattle medical cages, don’t give up and put yourself first.

I hope you feel better soon. X

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Madmusiclover

Thsnk you. I feel like I’m back at the beginning again with everything being so confusing. I worry about side effects, as every drug comes with them, and for 6 years I was absolutely fine with no flare ups and I felt so reassured I could live without this disease. Change is scary. But thank you so so much for your reply it’s so nice to hear friendly voices that understand. X

Madmusiclover profile image
Madmusiclover in reply to Clare26

Don’t be scared. What’s the worst that can happen? Drugs don’t suit and you try another. You can live with the disease and you will get stable again. Don’t panic. It’s just a dip. Sending you love. X

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Madmusiclover

thank you so much xx

Boxerlady profile image

I had a dreadful peri-menopause but HRT was my saviour so I'd definitely look into that if I were you. I didn't have RA at the time but my IBS went into overdrive along with other horrible symptoms including anxiety, insomnia and mood swings and HRT enabled me to function again.

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Boxerlady

Thank you so much…. It feels never ending with changes & medication. Us women really do go through it!! I do feel so exhausted all the time & with my partner having not worked for years I sometimes just feel I just can’t cope which has got much harder over the last 2 years which I guess does coincide with the start of my period-menaopause. Thanks I’ll look into the HRT. Xx

JenniferW profile image

Yes, the perimenopause has affected me and I am very glad my GP surgery is switched on and dished out the HRT without a pause. I have been worse affected with my thyroid swinging all over the place even with the HRT, but I am much stiffer than I was a couple of years ago. I haven't had a change in meds for the RA as I can't really take much more than I already am, but would recommend you push the Rheumy for a review. And ask for HRT, there are all sorts of variants these days including bio identical, with fewer risks.

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to JenniferW

Thanks so much it’s so reassuring to hear from others & their experience. I’m scared of adding in more medication but I’ll definitely look into HRT. X

Boxerlady profile image
Boxerlady in reply to Clare26

I didn't think of HRT as a medication, just adding hormones which I'd lost IYSWIM 😉

Deeb1764 profile image

I think step back write down all the things going on and how you are feeling and deal with a mix of GP and RA team to get yourself stabilised again. I use my GP a lot to sort anything not RA based and then update the RA team but they get info too so they can assist as well.

I needed HRT patches for 6months as Inwas undiagnosed RA and I was crawling and working and to be honest it was hell. So push thro with the medical team.

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Deeb1764

Thank you. I very much appreciate all this xx

Hollyhock123 profile image

This was me last year. I pushed with GP and my consultant until I was listened to. I’ve now been on HRT since December and symptoms settled a lot. Also turned out I had severe osteoarthritis in some joints, so something else to monitor and for me to be aware of regards what I can do. But I have also found my body is reacting differently to the RA meds. My rheumatologist has popped in telephone appointments more frequently to touch base. I’ve also kept my employer in the loop and they’ve been supportive and open to adjustments in working pattern. Hope you get some answers and get something sorted soon.

Domhem profile image

Hi Clare, sorry I don’t have any experience (yet) but I was told that I could potentially experience a worsening of symptoms all linked to hormones. I’m 45 (with two quite small ones) and on triple therapy and had the same worries every time they had to add in another drug but they make you feel better (with trial and error admittedly) Definitely push for another meeting with your GP and speak to them about HRT and ask them to communicate with your consultant. Also as a side note I find the consultants/GP a bit trickier to get a response from or help if you’ve previously been managing well. I’ve a got another autoimmune condition and both my Rheumy and Gastro were responsive when things weren’t going well but now I’ve had 6 months of relative stability after years of issues, I want to discuss coming off pred I can’t get anyone to call me back at all. So sometimes when you’ve been off their radar for a while I think they like to put you at the bottom of the pile so keep calling until you get the care you deserve and need. Hope you feel better soon x

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Domhem

Thank you so much , it’s reassuring to hear all this. I didn’t think I was having menopausal symptoms till my periods went erratic to be honest. Heavier, then lighter , then nothing, then another heavy one… that was about March this year . No other usual symptoms seemed to be happening so I started recently looking into the link. Thanks so much for your valuable info!! Xx

Bails67 profile image

I am in clinical induced remission and have been for a long time. My periods stopped in a couple of years ago and I thought I was ok. My joints had started to ache and I felt like my symptoms were beginning to return. I spoke to my GP and he said it did seem like menopause symptoms so put me on a low dose of HRT ( 1 tablet and a patch). I feel so much better, it had definitely helped with the exhaustion & joint pain. Might be worth mentioning to your nurse, you may need a change in meds?

I don’t know your personal circumstances.I tend to keep things to myself and then it all becomes to much and I explode. My hubby then feels bad because he says unless you tell me I can’t help!

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Bails67

Thank you so much. I don’t talk much about it till it’s bad & effecting my ability to deal with the kids after a days work. My partner doesn’t get my disease & won’t read anything about it saying “I tell him all he needs to know” - a bit more support would be nice , he’s very emotionally detached tbh. But anyway, many thanks for your reply it’s so appreciated to hear others experience & not feel alone . Xx

Maureengibson profile image

I have ankylosing spondylitis, but wasn’t diagnosed at the time. I suddenly went into a severe flare at 46 and stayed there for years, whilst they tried to work out what it was. It coincided with me going into menopause. They tried controlling mine with steroids and different dmards. When I was eventually diagnosed by a rheumatologist working for NASS, she said it was quite common for the menopause to trigger inflammatory arthritis or worsen symptoms.

I did try HRT tablets but they didn’t make any difference, possibly because I wasn’t struggling with the usual menopause symptoms. I got and still do get severe head sweats, and they had hoped it would help that, but sadly it didn’t.

Do chase your rheumatologist as it sounds like you need a review of your meds. My last bad flare they did increase my MTX by 5 to 25mg, to manage my peripheral symptoms. I was fortunate as it did help, although now my feet have flared and cannot go above 25mg so struggling at the moment. Hope you get it under control soon, and sorry your partner is not supportive. 🤗

I'm so the same, im just in the process of asking my GP for HRT 👍

stillsdisease profile image

note my diagnosis is Stills Disease which for me manifests as joint stiffness, swelling, pain and immobility. Menopause made it all much worse and HRT patches have helped enormously. I’ve been using them for 6 years without any problem at all and I’ll meep using them as long as I can.

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to stillsdisease

That’s so interesting thank you! Xx

Brychni profile image

yep - it's apparently well known that perimenopause directly affects all kinds of illnesses but I have heard this from 3 consultants about RD. It's very interesting. I put a post up about this a while ago and I got quite a few responses from women saying that being on hrt had helped with RD enormously. I have some experience, for different reasons and it turned out it was too soon for me but I will be embracing it wholeheartedly should the need arise in the future!!

As usual it seems to be the oestrogen levels which make all the difference. It's been known for ages that oestrogen levels not just in peri but throughout life have an impact. I think I may have posted a link to a paper about it.

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Brychni

Hi there, I’d be really interested to read your post & any other info. It’s distressing when flare ups occur & you can’t pin point a reason. Although I’m living through quite a stressful time as it is so menopause on top is just the icing on the cake!! I didn’t consider myself suffering with peri menopause symptoms like some of my other friends until my flare ups started worsening & then suddenly my menstrual cycle started to go a bit erratic. I’ve felt extra lethargic, more pain & exhaustion & generally very down about it for about 18 months - 2 years. It’s a cycle of hell at the moment & im coping as best I can but it’s not easy. Thank you for your reply. X

Clare26 profile image

Thank you everyone, all your replies have given me so much more hope than I had before! I’m going to make an appointment with gp in the morning to hopefully at least talk on the phone about HRT. Xx

Leics profile image

I’ve been on HRT for almost 20 years after needing a hysterectomy so I’m only on oestrogen patches. I was ok for a couple of years after surgery coz they left my ovaries in. But when menopause took over I asked for HRT wouldn’t be without it helps my joints a great deal and each time I’ve tried to be without it I end up in a mess. So now they wouldn’t be able to take me off it without a fight. Talk to your GP they generally know more than rheumy’s about these things and there are lots of options.

Clare26 profile image
Clare26 in reply to Leics

Thsnks you so much xx

Pastels profile image

sorry it’s so difficult for you I’m 67 and about to start HRT. My arthritis is well controlled with a drug called Filgotinib a Jak inhibitor the best I’ve felt in years with my arthritis but seem to have developed more menopausal symptoms recently. I’m going to give the HRT a whirl. Good luck

Clare26 profile image

I font know much beyond methotrexate!! I’d love to feel as I did when I first started it - I could just get in with my life. Thank you for your reply it’s so nice to hear from others xx

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