This One’s for The Girls

Aviary Photo_130508828440985937Gentleman, avert your eyes, this post is not for the squeamish. I am about to broach a sensitive feminine issue. Ladies listen up – it’s bad enough we have to deal with arthritis, but on top of the challenge and frustrations of the old lady in our bones, we must also deal with the fluctuating hormones that rule our bodies at certain times of the month…yes, you know what I am talking about, our regular ( and in some cases, not so regular) monthly visitor that shows up, wreaks havoc in all sorts of ways and then wanders off, not to be seen again for another twenty-eight days, leaving us to clean up the ruins.

When the mayhem begins, this is the time that many women with arthritis will experience a surge of flares. Have you noticed extra swelling and pain during this time? Our menstrual cycle and old lady RA are battling for dominion in the body. I notice an undue increase in swelling, amplified tenderness in my joints and inflammation during this time. My specialist says that many women report increased disease activity, but alas, there is no real explanation for it – increased production of hormones, perhaps? This seems to be the medical community’s best guess. There are many reports of menstrual cycle flares present in people with lupus (SLE), arthritis and fibromyalgia. The bad news is there doesn’t seem to be a way to predict or help ward off the troubles of this stormy time; the good news is when your scheduled visitor packs up for another month, the flares usually decrease or disappear – and so does the bewildering desire to hurl things at loved ones. It’s one of those ghastly trials that nature has ungraciously bestowed upon women.

Okay, gentleman, you can open your eyes now – and a word of advice – if your woman is extra cranky during her time of the month, try to remember it’s because we are stricken with the double whammy of hormones and arthritis. Just smile, be considerate and congenial, and you’ll come through it just fine… and in one piece.



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  1. Irma on July 27, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Love that, in one piece. Oh, so true. It seems so unjust to have to deal with RA on top of everything else a woman has to deal with in life. Thankfully, I am beyond that phase of life, but not beyond the memories of it. I prescribe long, warm, soothing baths. Scattered candles, a glass of sparkling white wine, a gentle massage. Come to think of it, I prescribe that for every day of the month.

    • J.G. Chayko on July 28, 2014 at 8:27 am

      That sounds wonderful Irma – I may very well take you up on your “prescription” 🙂 Especially the massage with sparkling white wine, sounds heavenly.

  2. Carla Kienast on July 28, 2014 at 7:02 am

    It’s interesting but I recently read an article about RA that was discussing the disparity that it affects women more than men and the reason given was hormones. Not sure that is true, but hormones do tend to accentuate things, so I’m not surprised that it would have that effect. Love the post.

    • J.G. Chayko on July 28, 2014 at 8:25 am

      Thanks Carla. I hope things are continuing to go well with you. Cheers.

  3. Kev on July 30, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Ha ha. I think things are quite different these days. Guys are on the up and up about such things. More sensitivity and understanding due to more openness. It’s nothing to be ashamed of …nature made you that way. 🙂 However, (tiptoes gently around) I would not pretend to understand it completely. 😉

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About me

J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.