Gentleman, avert your eyes, this post is not for the squeamish. I am about to broach a sensitive feminine issue. Ladies listen up – it’s bad enough we have to deal with arthritis, but on top of the challenge and frustrations of the old lady in our bones, we must also deal with the fluctuating hormones that rule our bodies at certain times of the month…yes, you know what I am talking about, our regular ( and in some cases, not so regular) monthly visitor that shows up, wreaks havoc in all sorts of ways and then wanders off, not to be seen again for another twenty-eight days, leaving us to clean up the ruins.
When the mayhem begins, this is the time that many women with arthritis will experience a surge of flares. Have you noticed extra swelling and pain during this time? Our menstrual cycle and old lady RA are battling for dominion in the body. I notice an undue increase in swelling, amplified tenderness in my joints and inflammation during this time. My specialist says that many women report increased disease activity, but alas, there is no real explanation for it – increased production of hormones, perhaps? This seems to be the medical community’s best guess. There are many reports of menstrual cycle flares present in people with lupus (SLE), arthritis and fibromyalgia. The bad news is there doesn’t seem to be a way to predict or help ward off the troubles of this stormy time; the good news is when your scheduled visitor packs up for another month, the flares usually decrease or disappear – and so does the bewildering desire to hurl things at loved ones. It’s one of those ghastly trials that nature has ungraciously bestowed upon women.
Okay, gentleman, you can open your eyes now – and a word of advice – if your woman is extra cranky during her time of the month, try to remember it’s because we are stricken with the double whammy of hormones and arthritis. Just smile, be considerate and congenial, and you’ll come through it just fine… and in one piece.