Dealing with breast cancer treatment can be a journey filled with both triumphs and challenges. One common challenge many women face is experiencing menopausal symptoms as a result of their treatment. Whether it’s chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiotherapy or ovarian suppression, these interventions can throw your body into menopause earlier than expected. This can bring with it a range of symptoms like joint pain that can significantly impact daily life, so we’re here to help you navigate overcoming menopause joint pain after cancer

Perhaps your cancer treatment is behind you, you’re entering perimenopause naturally and your treatment options for your menopausal symptoms differ from those without your medical history. Regardless, overcoming joint pain after cancer treatment can be tricky to navigate. So, in this blog post, we explore treatments, relief strategies, and natural remedies tailored for those dealing with this symptom, offering understanding and support along the way.

Understanding menopause joint pain and fatigue

Experiencing menopause, particularly post-cancer treatment, poses unexpected challenges like joint pain and fatigue. Hormonal shifts during menopause, which happen as oestrogen levels decline, contribute to bone density loss and joint discomfort. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and hormone therapy can wreak havoc with your hormonal balance, worsening symptoms. What’s more, some medications can bring joint pain as a side effect! 

Hormonal changes disrupt sleep patterns and energy regulation, leading to relentless fatigue that can leave you feeling like you have no energy to do the things you usually enjoy. Understanding these fluctuations helps us to navigate the challenges they bring. 

Menopausal joint pain treatment options and relief

Navigating menopausal symptoms post-cancer treatment demands tailored care. Conventional methods like exercise, a balanced diet, and DEXA scans for bone health, are really important. While Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) may help, it’s not a one-size-fits-all and isn’t always suitable for cancer survivors. Plus, many different factors determine the efficacy of medical interventions like DEXA scans and HRT.

Complementary therapies like yoga or acupuncture can work well alongside conventional treatments. Consulting your healthcare team when considering options like homeopathy or evening primrose oil is important to receive personalised guidance to achieve the best management of your specific symptoms. 

Lifestyle changes are also key to managing menopausal symptoms. Activities known to relieve stress, like meditation, reduce joint pain and fatigue, while a calming bedtime routine promotes restful sleep. Exploring alternative therapies like massage can also help. Combined with medical interventions these strategies can work together to boost your quality of life following treatment for cancer. 

Will joint pain from menopause go away?

Dealing with joint pain during menopause means thinking about how long it’ll last and what keeps it going. This type of pain, usually tied to dropping oestrogen levels, can increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis and make muscles and joints stiffer.

But personal factors like where you’re at with menopause, your BMI, and how you’re feeling can affect how bad the joint pain gets and how long it lasts. Taking charge by exercising regularly, keeping an eye on your weight, and getting advice from a doctor can help manage the pain. By looking into these areas, you can lessen the blow of joint pain during menopause.

Addressing joint pain in menopause: The UK perspective

Dealing with joint pain from menopause in the UK means finding the right help and support that fits your needs. Begin with getting support from the healthcare system. Talk to your GP for personal advice and maybe get referred to specialists. Joining local support groups is also great for getting support from others who know what you’re going through, giving you a community vibe.

Explore online forums for more insights and discussions. You can join our Facebook group, it’s a private chat group, and you can ask others how they manage their symptoms. Take advantage of specific resources such as the “Someone Like Me” service provided by Breast Cancer Now, which connects you with breast cancer survivors who understand your journey. Remember, you’re not alone; use these resources to navigate menopause joint pain effectively and enhance your overall well-being.

The challenge of night sweats and aching joints

Night sweats disrupt sleep, leading to mood changes and irritability and can massively affect daily life. With around two-thirds of postmenopausal women with a history of breast cancer experiencing hot flushes and 44% also experiencing night sweats, managing these symptoms is important for quality of life. 

To tackle night sweats choose breathable bedding, lightweight sleepwear, and a cool bedroom environment. Soothe aching joints with gentle exercises like yoga or swimming and avoid strain. While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) suits some it’s not advised for those with a history of hormone-positive breast cancer due to risks. Instead, alternatives like antidepressants can reduce the amount and severity of hot flushes by up to 50% in some women. 

What’s more, therapies like gabapentin, pregabalin, or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can effectively manage symptoms. Don’t hesitate to discuss these symptoms with your healthcare provider, who can offer tailored solutions.

Navigating joint pain after stopping HRT

Dealing with joint pain after you stop hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be tough, but there are some helpful ways to handle it. Keeping a healthy weight by eating right and staying active can reduce the pain. Adding foods to your diet that fight inflammation, like fatty fish, nuts, and leafy greens, might help too. Also, drinking plenty of water and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol can be good for your joints.

Trying out different things like acupuncture or massage could also help ease the pain. It’s important to pay attention to what your body tells you and tweak your activities to avoid pushing it too hard. Bear in mind that figuring out the best mix of lifestyle tweaks and alternative treatments that work for you can really make life better after HRT.

Exploring natural remedies for menopause joint pain

When managing joint pain and fatigue during menopause, natural remedies and supplements can offer some relief. Turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, may help alleviate joint pain when taken as a supplement or added to meals. It is not advised to take turmeric supplements whilst on tamoxifen, for example, but there are no known contra-indications while on aromatase inhibitors. Make sure to consult your medical team to check for possible contraindications. Also, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can reduce inflammation and ease joint discomfort.

Supplements like vitamin D and calcium support bone health, potentially reducing the risk of osteoporosis-related joint pain. While these remedies show promise, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to make sure they’re safe, effective and tailored to your individual needs. Many women in our community also say magnesium glycinate and collagen help.

Lifestyle modifications and support systems

When facing joint pain and fatigue during menopause after cancer, lifestyle adjustments can make a big difference. As mentioned above, incorporating regular exercise, like gentle yoga or walking, can help strengthen muscles and help with joint discomfort. Putting stress management tricks like meditation or deep breathing exercises at the top of your list can do wonders to reduce overall tiredness and help you chill out. Taking it slow and controlling your breathing has been shown to work wonders for managing hot flushes, based on a couple of studies, for example, results showed a big reduction in the amount of flushes, averaging between 50% to 60%.

Building a strong support system is also important. Lean on healthcare providers for personalised guidance and treatment options. Some medications, like aromatase inhibitors, for example, can make your joint pain worse, and it might be helpful to ask your doctor to prescribe you a different brand. Joining support groups or accessing community resources can offer valuable emotional support and practical advice from others who understand your journey. Remember, you’re not alone, and seeking support can greatly enhance your well-being during this time.

Join our community

Managing menopause-related joint pain and fatigue after cancer treatment demands bespoke approaches. Let’s support each other through this journey. Share your experiences and tips in our Facebook group and explore extra support and information through these resources:

Join our community 

Listen to our podcast 

​​https://breastcancernow.org/information-support/support-you/someone-me 

Visit Breast Cancer Now’s site. 

Breast Cancer Survivor and Hot Flash Treatment Article 

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor, oncologist, or medical team.

Menopause and Cancer are not affiliated with any product or service mentioned or linked.

Last updated March 2024

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