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Hormone Balance and Nerve Pinch
A puzzle:

Pain as though something were pinching inside my wrists, elbows, and spine (for more description, see Plenty of Symptoms, No Diagnosis) — this has been happening just since menopause.

What could be the connection? Here's what I've found so far

  1. Germaine Greer, The Change: Women, Aging and the Menopause. Fawcett Columbine, NY, 1993, p. 97
    "Dutch researchers include carpal-tunnel syndrome among the symptoms caused by autogenic dysregulation; if I had known that two years ago, when I had surgery on both hands for progressive loss of sensation as well as pins and needles and painful numbness, I would have taken estrogen before undergoing painful surgery which resulted in an infection and permanent weakness in one hand."

    Estrogen? Perhaps Greer is just assuming that the hormone to treat the problem would be estrogen. Certainly that's the only hormone most people think of as missing, after menopause. To me, from the other evidence here, it seems more likely that progesterone would be useful, and that estrogen would aggravate the problem. Unfortunately, she didn't document the "Dutch researchers" reference.

  2. Katharina Dalton, Once A Month; The Original Premenstrual Syndrome Handbook. Hunter House, Alameda, CA, 1994.
    On p. 52, Dalton mentions carpal tunnel syndrome from water retention due to low progesterone.

  3. John R. Lee, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause. Warner Books, NY, 1996, pp. 125-126:
    "Not yet generally understood is that estrogen alters cell membrane function such that sodium and water influxes into body cells, while potassium and magnesium are lost from cells. This results in intracellular edema or bloating and water retention. ...[natural] Progesterone, on the other hand, works to protect the cell membrane from these estrogen-induced problems."

  4. M.S. Sabour and Hossam E. Fadel, "The carpal tunnel syndrome -- a new complication ascribed to the 'pill'", in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology volume 107, #8 (August 15, 1970), pp. 1265-1267.
    They document increasing nerve pinching with increasing estrogen. (There was no progesterone to balance the estrogen.)
  5. On the BabyCare Centre site, two pages describe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as common in pregnancy, due to edema caused by estrogen dominance:
  6. A Google search on 13 October 2002 showed numerous sites recommending the use of natural progesterone to treat edema associated with PMS and Menopause.

    In addition progesterone has been successfully used to treat animals with brain edema from injury. For example, see Progesterone Rapidly Decreases Brain Edema: Treatment Delayed up to 24 Hours is Still Effective, a PDF report of research by Robin L. Roof, Revital Duvdevani, John W. Heyburn, and Donald G. Stein at the State University of New Jersey, Newark.

My experience:

Anyone else know anything about this?

I would be very interested in accumulating more documentation of this connection.

Anyone else have this experience?

I'd be interested in .

© copyright Catherine Holmes Clark, 1998