This study was performed to assess the relationship between joint symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and symptoms in menopausal syndrome. Detailed analyses of the clinical course, laboratory data, joint symptoms, and symptoms of menopausal syndrome were performed for five patients with stage I and monocyclic-type RA. The age when joint symptoms first appeared coincided with the age of menopause in all patients, and the mean age was 51.0 years. The mean period from menopause to this study was 5.4 years. All patients showed more than six menopausal syndrome symptoms. Two patients were confirmed gynecologically to have definite menopausal syndrome, and accordingly hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was given. In one patient, the polyarthralgia disappeared after she received HRT. All the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria, with the exception of subcutaneous nodules, can be explained as symptoms related to estrogen deficiency in menopausal syndrome because estrogen regulates the production of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, and TNFα, and these cytokines are produced in greater abundance in conditions of estrogen deficiency. Estrogen deficiency at the menopause influences joint symptoms and inflammatory parameters in rheumatoid arthritis. Estrogen deficiency in menopausal syndrome may induce joint symptoms resembling RA.
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