Menopausal and Postmenopausal Hand Syndrome
By Yuichi Hirase, MD
Hand disorders are common symptoms in menopausal and postmenopausal women. They are carpal tunnel syndrome, de Quervain’s disease and stenosing tenosynovitis, during their lactation and menopausal periods. Women in these periods typically have low blood estrogen levels. In addition, many postmenopausal females experience osteoarthritis in their hands and fingers in such forms as thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) osteoarthritis, Heberden’s nodes, and Bouchard’s nodes.
Estrogen receptors (ERs), which are activated when estrogen binds to them, have two types: ERα and ERβ. ERα is abundant mainly in the ovaries, uterus and mammary glands while ERβ is abundant in the thyroid gland, blood vessels, bones, tendons and synovium. Lowered estrogen levels are the cause of more than 150 types of menopause symptoms.
The blood estrogen levels of almost all women drop below their testosterone levels after menopause, causing the male hormone to dominate their systems. Lowered estrogen levels are a cause of various menopause symptoms, including emotional instability, weight gain, osteoporosis, lower back pain, stiff shoulders, hot flashes, and hand disorders.
Postmenopausal hand disorders are likely to have developed during menopause and should therefore be recognized as a menopausal hand syndrome.
Yuichi Hirase, MD
Department of Hand Surgery and Microsurgery
Yotsuya Medical Cube
Hirase Y. Hand and fingers disorder as women’s disease – why my hands and fingers hurt and grow numb. Clinics in Surgery. 2018; Vol.3: Article 2170.