8 things you need to know about menopause when you have rheumatoid arthritis

The chances of developing postmenopausal osteoporosis are doubled for women who have RA compared with women in the general population. Photo: Pexels

(Beth Levine/ Everyday Health) –– “Menopause just kicked me over the edge,” says Christine Byrnes, 57, of Potsdam, New York.  She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) about 11 years ago. For nine years, the medication Enbrel (etanercept) kept her symptoms at bay. But as menopause revved into high gear, her body went “haywire,” she says.

“I had a lot more flare-ups and was generally feeling really unwell. I had fatigue, sleepless nights, dizziness, and difficulty with stress and focusing.

“My joints got progressively worse to the point that I had to take medical leave from work. The Enbrel stopped being effective, and I just couldn’t control my symptoms.”

Byrnes discovered on her own something that research has also found: Women with RA have a greater decline in function when they experience menopause, a study published in May 2018 in Rheumatology suggests. Here’s what you need to know. (…)