Swollen ankles are a common occurrence during menopause. Like many other menopausal symptoms, swollen ankles do not occur in every woman during menopause. There are a number of reasons for swollen ankles like standing or sitting down too long, menstrual periods, pregnancy, too much weight, ageing, injury to ankles or feet.
Keep in mind that it may be more than just menopause.
There are other health factors that cause this symptom aside from menopause. The presence of a blood clot, a leg infection, varicose veins, burns, insect bites, malnutrition, and surgery to the legs or feet. Swollen ankles may be an indication of serious diseases such as heart, kidney, or liver failure. These conditions all result in too much fluid on the body. Swelling of the ankles is a key feature of right-sided heart failure and is seen in kidney failure as well. So, it is really important not to dismiss this symptom as just part of menopause or due to ageing, as it may point towards a more serious underlying disease.
Swollen ankles are not only brought about by other diseases, but also by various medications and treatments. Menopause symptoms remedies like Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and estrogen in birth control pills are also a likely cause. There are also certain drugs for lowering blood pressure that can result in swollen ankles. Steroids and antidepressant drugs may also result in swollen ankles.
Why do ankles get swollen during menopause?
There are no clear explanations as to why swollen ankles happen during menopause. It has been evident though that most cases are due to the accumulation of bodily fluids. The treatment of symptoms of menopause may have greatly influenced the occurrence of swollen ankles though.
Sometimes intense swelling may even include the calves and thighs. However, body fluid usually accumulates in the ankles and feet due to the effect of gravity. Estrogen and progestin hormones are said to have a great impact on the body’s water metabolism. Fluctuating hormone levels during the menopausal years can actually cause fluid retention, which is an effect of an increase in sodium. As with pregnancy, weight gain during menopause results in the accumulation of fluid in the ankles and the feet.
How can I manage swollen ankles during menopause?
- Cutting back on sodium intake may help reduce fluid retention in the body. While swollen ankles, along with other menopause symptoms are unpredictable, eating a proper diet along with living a healthy lifestyle may prevent you from experiencing most of the symptoms associated with menopause.
- Elevating your legs to a point above your heart when lying down. The main driving factor for fluid accumulation is gravity. By elevating your feet, the fluid accumulation will be visibly less.
- Activating your lymphatic system: any excess fluid that accumulates in the body is captured by the lymphatic system and drawn back into the circulation. During exercise, leg muscle contractions help your lymphatic system pump this fluid from the legs back to circulation and to the heart.
- If you are going on a long trip, will sit for a long time consider wearing support socks and stockings to reduce the swelling around your ankles.
- Staying hydrated and eating healthy foods that are rich in the required nutrients is really important. The movement of fluid outside the cells of the body is governed by fluid intake and the presence of “electrolytes.” Electrolytes like sodium and potassium are found in the food we eat. So by maintaining a good balance of fluid and nutrient intake, you can help your body manage fluid balance.
If your swollen ankles have gone really bad or if accompanied by other disturbing symptoms like fever, or if the swelling is red and has included your abdomen, consult your health care provider right away. This may be an indication of a more serious underlying condition or disease.
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