17:33 PM

How Do Hormones Affect Arthritis?

Getmegiddy.com interviews experts including Caroline Siegel, MD, rheumatology fellow at HSS about how hormones affect arthritis. 

A majority of people with arthritis are women, and many experience worse symptoms during certain hormonal phases and relief during others. Significant transitions can even coincide with disease onset.

Sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone influence immunity and immune system response. However, the mechanisms through which they do so—and the ultimate effects—aren’t quite clear, according to Dr. Siegel.

For example, some lupus research has demonstrated estrogen may exert a pro-inflammatory effect, contributing to disease occurrence and flare-ups, while progesterone may suppress inflammation, she said.

"To whatever extent hormonal differences contribute to women’s disproportionate susceptibility to autoimmune conditions, this is clearly not the whole story," noted Dr. Siegel. "It is important to recognize that sex differences are not only explained by differences in hormone profiles. There are differences in sex-specific genetic and epigenetic factors, environmental exposures and other factors that play an important contributory role in disease development."

Read the full article at getmegiddy.com.