Happy Days Are Here Again!

I was diagnosed with RA in 1989. Having had Polio as a child, with dozens of operations in my early and late teens, my pain threshold is pretty good but in 2006 my RA consultant insisted I started Methotrexate to alleviate the ever increasing debilitating flare-ups. I began on a low tablet dose but from then on I was constantly feeling nauseous.

After a month or so I stopped the tablets and was told the nausea would settle down after 3 or 4 weeks at the most.

Not true for me...it stayed for the best part of 10 months.

I continued using Sulphasalazine but I was relying on increasing amounts of Celebrex and intermittant steroid injections to help with the pain.

March 14th 2008 was the date my specialist insisted I returned to methotrexate and talked me into having it by injection.

Problem was, I was still having the flare-ups and the worst one always seemed to follow the injection.

I decided to look for a more natural solution and about three months later I believed I found one.

At that time I was seeing my specialist at the hospital every six weeks.

I discussed what I'd found with him and his response was that he had no problem with it as long as I continued with the injections.

I carried on like this for about another six months but then I decided (without telling my specialist) to see what would happen if I stopped injecting.

On January 9th 2009 I had my last injection.

At my next appointment, six weeks later, my specialist, after looking at blood results, was impressed.

"If I didn't know you, I would say that you do not have arthritis - but as we both know you do, let's keep you on the books and come back again in twelve months unless of course you need to before".

The following February (2010) my annual visit showed the same blood results and we agreed another twelve month appointment.

February 2011 showed the same blood results but this time I was starting to have some small flare-ups. He did agree it was odd as my blood was still not showing any inflammation markers but we left it like that and I made another twelve month check up appointment.

Within another couple of months I was back having some serious flare-ups again and my GP put me on Prednisolone together with another prescription of Celebrex.

I was miserable again. My natural soloution had deserted me. I started racking my brain to figure out what had changed...then it hit me.

At the end of 2010 my GP had talked me into stopping my HRT. Could this be the something that was different? She didn't think so but after a lengthy discussion about the pro and cons of risk management etc. etc. she finally capitulated and gave me a prescription for my HRT.

Well, that was it...within a few days I was back to being pain free again.

It appears the HRT and the natural solution is the "ideal marriage" in my case.

I am not saying this will work for everybody, we are all different but I do think it's worth while to be open minded about things and I am so happy that I am able to live my life without all those chemicals together with their unpleasant side effects.

12 Replies

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  • what is an HRT?

  • Hormone replacement therapy. xx

  • hello lizzie

    I think it is fantastic that you have found a toxfree solution to controlling your disease, long may it last - but you have me intrigued - what is your natural solution?

    ,,,,,eve

  • Hi there - What a nice story, it's good to know that there are people at the other end of the spectrum whose RA diminishes over time. Some women say that they've had no problems during pregnancy, so I wonder whether for you the extra hormones are the tipping point that are keeping it all under control. I've been agonising about whether or not to stop HRT, since I'm keen to minimise my chemical intake (I find it hard to think of synthetic hormones as being entirely natural), but perhaps I'll leave it for a bit more! Good luck & long may it last for you. P

  • Hi

    Well done for being persistent and I hope your RA continues to be in remission.

    Sci x

  • Hi Lizzie

    I too am keen to know what the natural solution is. You can message me if you don't want to put it on the forum.

  • Golly this is incredibly relevant to me today! I've got an appointment to see the gynae to remove a polyp later on and have just phoned my GP surgery to get blood test results for my hormone levels.

    Back in August I had a sudden period which came out of the blue after almost two years of nothing period wise. With the arrival of this period my joint pain almost completely disappeared. Then three weeks later it came bounding back in my knees and fingers and has been in constant flare ever since. I spoke to my GP about this and we both wondered if HRT mightn't be a good idea for me to see if the joint problems lifted. He said he wouldn't want to prescribe it without me discussing with gynae and rheumy first because I have no other classic menopausal symptoms at all and there are risks with HRT also - but surely not as great as the DMARDs etc? I did go on the Menopause Matters forum for a while but I felt like an alien being there because everyone else was suffering terrible hot flushes and night sweats whereas I only had joint pain and deep heat in joints to ask about. There was a huge long thread about joint pains but I concluded that many might be sero negative RA and just not realise so were putting everything down to menopause. HRT didn't seem to have made much difference to these symptoms but obviously you are presenting a different storty?

    My FSH has risen from 27.1 back in August to 76.4 now and I think this means that my menopause is well underway. I've had scans and things and I think that period was a complete one off but it was so interesting that the joint pains almost completely lifted while I was having it?! So I'll ask the gynae about HRT re arthritis and see what he says when I see him later today! Thanks so much for this timely blog from my perspective! TT

  • Hello Lizzie,

    That's a great story. What is your natural solution? It would be great to know about it even if it does not work for us all.

    Thanks, Julie

  • Just a short update re the HRT/ RA thing. I saw gynae and he said that he'd never heard of menopausal arthritis and certainly wouldn't recommend HRT if I wasn't suffering any other meno symptoms because of the risks it carries re breast cancer? I tried to make the point that HRT was maybe a lot less risky than some of the RA drugs but he didn't seem to know much about this.

    He said my menopause was well underway now and all healthy in that department so he thought RA was just RA and nothing to do with meno. He did say that oestrogen is a steroid (?) and that the Prednisolone may well work by doing the same job as an oestrogen only suppliment if hormones were a trigger for RA and other forms of arthritis?

    He really didn't seem to know of any connection between meno and joint problems which I thought was odd, but said to check with the rheumy re HRT because he might feel differently as this was his specialist area - not the gynaes. Not very holistic I have to say?! TT

  • Hi, i am on HRT and since taking it have developed RA and Fibro, i seem to be the opposite of Lizzi as i thought mine was brought on by taking HRT as my RA started within months of starting it ? The doctors do not think there is a connection, it just shows us how this disease effects us all differently ! I guess we are all looking for a reason why we got it and what can we do to help !

    Karen x

  • I'm not a doctor so I really cannot make any comment on any of the above

    My blood results have not shown any sign of inflammation for the last three years since I started on this natural suppliment. When my flare-ups started up again, my blood results still showed no inflammation. That's what was odd.

    The only change that was made was the stopping of the HRT so that's why I asked to go on it again to see if that could be the cause of the problem.

    I am not advocating HRT.

    I'm just saying, in my case, I was back to normal within a week.

    My body is happy again and so am I.

  • The individuality of this disease is one of the most frustrating things! Gloriaeve was diagnosed about same time as you and is now battling with having to accept a wheelchair...

    I just wish there was a clear path to follow; do this/do that and things should be ok. But there's not. However I do wonder whether one of the problems is a lack of research? RA is not very popular as a research topic, and menopause certainly isn't. So is there really enough known about the interaction of the two? Do the doctors saying that there's no link between taking HRT and RA symptoms really know this (ie based on robust evidence) or is that just what they assume? Hormones do seem to have a big effect on some people so I guess we each have to work it out for ourselves once we get to that point in life. But it's great that it seems to work positively for some. Polly

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