Even though this post does appear to be targeted to women, I hope that the men will read it too, because we are all affected by hormones, and far too many of us, both women and men, are affected by chronic pain.
What prompted me to start reading up on this topic was that many women I know have told me that their pain (joint pain, back pain, neck pain, basically ANY pain) was worse at certain times of the month and they felt that it was hormone related. Beyond that, every one of these women, myself included, have experienced the frustration of having a doctor be dismissive of the idea that hormonal fluctuations may increase pain in all areas of the body (not just in the female organs).
What IS a hormone anyway? A hormone is a substance produced in the body that stimulates cells or tissue to act. They are powerful. Off the top of your head, can you guess how many hormones there are roaming around your body? A quick search on the internet will tell you that there are about 50 different hormones in the body…so yeah, hormones are kind of a big deal.
After reading many articles on this topic, I found that the consensus seems to be that hormones may very well play a big role in chronic pain. So, ladies: it is NOT all in your head! Here are just a few examples of the articles out there:
- This article indicates that fluctuations in women’s hormonal cycles appear to be associated with changes in the response to pain: Click Here.
- This article suggests that when estrogen levels are high, more endorphins are released and when estrogen levels are low, less endorphins are released: Click Here . Endorphins help us to feel less pain.
- Even though estrogen and progesterone seem to be the biggest players in this game, there are other hormones that also participate. According to this site: Article_Chronic_Pain_And_Hormones, low levels of Vitamin D, cortisol, testosterone, thyroid and DHEA can all be connected to chronic pain.