Keeping Score, Inflammation and Menopause

Jan 03, 2022

Inflammation is a huge part of menopause, and most women don’t realize what an important part it plays in how they feel every day. So I’d like to talk about inflammation, how to manage it, and keeping score. 

Dear Readers:

You’ve heard me talk a lot about inflammation on Divine Renewal, and yes, I’m back with more information to share with you! This time I am discussing the connection between inflammation and hormonal changes; namely, perimenopause and menopause. 

My research and experience have convinced me there are three reasons why inflammation exists when menopause hits. 

First, I believe the body keeps score. In the years leading up to when your hormones begin to fluctuate and trigger a wide variety of symptoms, your body has likely been harboring inflammation in one form or another—and likely in numerous forms. 

If you have arthritis, asthma, allergies, cancer, celiac disease, diabetes, endometriosis, fatty liver disease, fibromyalgia, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, or an autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis, you have chronic inflammation.

Other factors that contribute to inflammation are eating an inflammatory diet (meats, dairy, processed foods, unhealthy fats), smoking, and alcohol use.

Therefore by the time you reach menopause age, your body has been living with inflammation for a while, and that burden has been accumulating, so your body is keeping score. 

Once menopause hits, inflammation tends to get worse because the anti-inflammatory protection provided by estrogen declines because it is a hormone that protects against inflammation.

Since there are estrogen receptors throughout your body, the extent of inflammation is wide.

The second reason inflammation exists in menopause is that hormone changes significantly disrupt all of our bodily functions, and many diseases and illnesses can develop as a result of so many changes.

The list of health issues that involve inflammation is long, as I’ve already noted above, and changing hormone levels can contribute to, exacerbate, or even cause them to develop. 

It’s well known, for example, that the risk of heart disease increases dramatically around age 50 in women, just as we are in the midst of hormonal changes. Arthritis and other conditions involving the joints can get worse because of increasing inflammation. Weight gain in menopause can be associated with inflammation as well as problems with memory and concentration. 

The third reason inflammation is a part of menopause is genetics. Although we can’t change our genes, we can take steps to minimize the impact of inflammation on our body.

Wise food choices, regular exercise, and daily stress management can help bring the score back more into your favor.

You can read about many more nutrition tips and how to live a better life in menopause at Divine Renewal.