The Link Between Hormones and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The Link Between Hormones and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in your hands and wrists. It can impact anyone, but it’s especially prevalent in pregnant women. So why is this? Hormones play a large role in whether or not you end up with carpal tunnel syndrome.

At Mehling Orthopedics, our team specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Our two orthopedic specialists, Dr. Brian Mehling and Dr. Pavel Yufit help you determine if your wrist pain is due to carpal tunnel, and what treatment is right for you.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

Your carpal tunnel is a tiny canal that runs through your wrist and into your hand. This tunnel houses both your flexor tendons and your median nerve. The tendons allow your fingers to move, and the median nerve gives you feeling in your fingers.

In normal circumstances, the tendons and nerves work together without any issues. However, if you suffer an injury to your wrist, or you use it too much, the carpal tunnel space becomes narrowed and inflamed.

Once inflammation sets in, it can strain the median nerve due to excess pressure. This can lead to a variety of different symptoms, including:

While carpal tunnel syndrome is often due to overuse of your wrists, there are other factors that play into this disorder as well. For example, if you fracture your wrist in a fall, you’re much more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome.

You may also have a genetic predisposition to carpal tunnel syndrome. This is usually due to being born with a smaller-than-average carpal tunnel.

If you suffer from diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, you’re also at a much higher risk of developing this condition.

But did you know pregnancy also raises your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Do your hormones really play a role?

While there are many different causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, one of the most surprising is hormones. If you’re pregnant, for example, you’re at a higher risk of developing this painful condition.

But pregnancy isn’t the only time your hormones are out of control. Menopausal women are also more likely to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome. This is due to the extreme change in your hormones when your body begins going through menopause.

However, during pregnancy, your body also experiences an intense hormonal change. This is especially true near the end of your pregnancy, as your hormones lead to excess fluid buildup. This excess fluid can put added pressure on the median nerve in your wrists due to swelling. 

So what can you do about carpal tunnel syndrome if you’re pregnant? While surgery is a good option for other people who aren’t pregnant and haven’t had relief from less invasive techniques, it’s not recommended in pregnancy.

Dr. Mehling and Dr. Yufit recommend resting your wrists and using splints to help relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel. In many cases, carpal tunnel syndrome goes away after your baby is born and your hormones settle back to normal.

If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel and are seeking expert treatment, you can call one of our offices in Hackensack, New Jersey, or West Islip, New York, to make an appointment with our team today.

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