Well yesterday got worse rather than better really. I developed a migraine later on in the evening and so I finally gave in and went back to bed, but I didn’t sleep very well because of the pain in my joints, mainly those in my left arm/hand. I’ve been keeping up with my painkillers and things seemed to be staying at a manageable level, but yesterday it felt like somebody had replaced them all with smarties. Every inch of my body seemed sensitive to pain, which got me thinking…
More women than men are diagnosed with Still’s Disease and other Auto-Immune illnesses; many seem to notice an increase in symptoms just before or during their menstrual cycle, possibly due to hormonal changes. These were facts that I was aware of but hadn’t really paid much attention to – pain was pain, whenever it hit, and there wasn’t an awful lot I could do about it anyway.
Or was there?
The thing that drew my attention back to all this was the Hidradenitis and Pilonidal issues I’ve had over the past year – I gradually began to notice a pattern, with the sites swelling worse than ever each time I approached menstruation, then gradually improving afterwards. More recently, I noticed that the joint pain increased around this time too, but whether that is due to hormones, increased sensitivity, or an increase in infection levels I’m not sure; it could be either or all.
“There are hormone changes that can affect the intensity of inflammation and also fluid shifts that can increase the swelling of joints at different times in the menstrual cycle. While some patients clearly describe fluctuations in symptoms, many other patients do not”.
So, if all this true, is there anything we can do about it? According to one article, we should adjust our pain relief beforehand in anticipation of the pain increase, to tide us over this peak of the rollercoaster. It might also help to reduce physical activity around this time too.
But just knowing that this could be the cause of some of the seemingly random pain blips makes them a little bit easier to manage, espcially knowing that they will tide over…
…until the next month.
Ps. Please fill in the following poll to help me find out if there is any truth in this: