Menopause and Muscle Health: Insights on Surgical Menopause

Musculoskeletal pain is a prevalent symptom during menopause, contributing to the higher incidence of pain experienced by women, particularly around the age of 50. Besides pain, menopause also affects muscle function and mass. A recent study, published in Menopause, the journal of The Menopause Society, examined the impact of premature surgical menopause on the risk of muscle disorders in late-postmenopausal women aged 55 and older.

The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation highlighted several common menopause transition symptoms, including muscle stiffness complaints affecting 54% of US women aged 40 to 55. This period coincides with a significant decrease in ovarian hormone levels, particularly estrogen, and testosterone. Premature menopause, whether spontaneous or surgical, exacerbates this decline.

The study surveyed nearly 650 late-postmenopausal women to assess the effects of different menopause types on muscle discomfort and function. It found that women who experienced premature surgical menopause were at a higher risk of developing musculoskeletal discomfort and sarcopenia compared to those who underwent natural menopause at age 45 or older. The study suggests that hormone deficiency, rather than chronological age alone, plays a significant role in the decline of muscle function and increase in pain during late-postmenopause.

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director for The Menopause Society, underscores the study's implications, emphasizing the potential long-term musculoskeletal effects of premature surgical menopause. She suggests that hormone therapy until the natural age of menopause may help alleviate some of these adverse effects, highlighting the importance of personalized menopausal management strategies.
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