MORE RESEARCH IN THE WORKS
Prof Yong said the findings underscore the necessity of conducting such studies locally to understand and manage the symptoms experienced by Singaporean women.
Despite such pains being common complaints from women experiencing menopause, little research has been done on the cause and risk factors associated with the condition.
“Menopausal arthralgia is a condition that even clinicians globally are not well aware of,” he said. “Filling these gaps will help understand the burden of arthralgia and its associated factors … and may shed understanding on improving its management.”
Menopausal joint and muscle pain have often been mistaken as an inevitable part of the ageing process.
Madam Amy Fang, a participant in the study who has endured a decade of arthralgia, said the condition has caused her excruciating discomfort, including in her spine and nerves, hindered her ability to perform basic daily tasks, and significantly affected her quality of life.
“It was first presented to me as (a symptom of ageing) and told there isn’t anything I can do. Nobody told me that it could possibly be linked with menopause. It was a very difficult journey because no one understood the pain I was going through,” she said.
She is among an increasing number of women seeking treatment at NUH for menopausal symptoms. The hospital said patients with such symptoms have significantly increased over the years due to the ageing population and greater awareness.
Prof Yong said exercises that strengthen the muscles will help to ease tension and stress on the joints.
“Joint pains are associated with weak muscles. Proper strengthening of the muscles will help to protect the joints,” he explained.
Studies are also in the works to develop targeted interventions, he said. They include exercise regimes to enhance muscle strength and exploring menopausal hormone therapy’s potential in alleviating pain.
“We are planning a study to see whether hormones and exercise, whether alone or in combination, can help the situation and hopefully help those like Mdm Fang get a better quality of life.”