Menopause Hip Bursitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Last updated 03.08.2024 | by Sabrina Johnson | 9 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


Hip bursitis is a painful condition that can limit your movements and make walking painful. The condition is caused by inflammation in the fluid-filled sacs (known as bursae), which cushion the joints in the hip region.

Hip bursitis can happen to anyone at any age, but for menopausal and postmenopausal women, the risks of developing the condition are much greater. So, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms so that you can seek treatment if it happens to you.

A friend and colleague of mine recently recovered from hip bursitis, and when her symptoms were at their worst, she struggled to complete simple tasks such as household chores. Like me, she has a fairly active job in the emergency room, so she even had to take a couple of weeks off work while her body healed.

Thankfully, her condition was diagnosed quickly, and she immediately sought treatment. And now, she’s back to her usual, active self. But her experience has left her determined to minimize her chances of further flair-ups. So, she’s adopting some positive lifestyle changes, and she’s inspired me to follow her lead.

After all, we need to take care of our bodies in order to stay fit and well. And I encourage you, the reader, to join me in doing the same.

So, are you concerned about hip bursitis or another form of hip pain during menopause? Are you looking for ways to alleviate discomfort and restore your full range of movement? Or are you hoping to avoid this type of issue in the future as you journey through this phase of life? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re in the right place.

In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about hip bursitis during and after menopause, including the causes, symptoms, and potential treatment plans.

What is Bursitis?

Bursitis is the painful inflammation and swelling of fluid-filled sacs (bursae) found in the joints. It can also occur in various areas of the body, including elbows, shoulders, knees, wrists, and feet. However, the condition is usually found in joints that are subjected to frequent or repeated motion. So, the hips are a common location for this type of inflammation to occur.

Who Can Get Hip Bursitis?

Anyone can develop hip bursitis, but it’s more commonly found in females. This is because women tend to have wider hips than men, which increases the risk of friction and compression against the bursae. Older women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are particularly at risk.

Can Menopause Cause Hip Bursitis?

While menopause doesn’t directly cause hip bursitis, the changes that happen during this phase of life can leave women vulnerable to developing the condition.

During menopause, our estrogen levels drop, and our bone density decreases. Declining estrogen also reduces the amount of joint lubrication our bodies produce. Less lubrication causes more friction, and friction leads to inflammation. If this inflammation occurs in the bursae, the result is a painful case of hip bursitis.

Other Causes of Hip Bursitis

Most cases of hip bursitis are due to:

  • Repeated movement (such as walking or running)
  • Injury
  • Excess pressure on the hip joint

Alongside menopause, certain other factors can increase your risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • Weight gain
  • Arthritis
  • Immune system deficiencies
  • Autoimmune disorders, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Certain medications

What Are the Symptoms of Hip Bursitis?

What Are the Symptoms of Hip Bursitis?

If you have hip bursitis, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness
  • A dull ache
  • Pain during movement
  • Pain when pressure is applied
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth from the affected area

While hip bursitis is a relatively common condition, especially in menopausal and postmenopausal women, it’s often mistaken for other issues that require different forms of treatment.

So, if you have any of the symptoms above, it’s important to visit your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis before embarking on any kind of treatment plan.

How Can I Avoid Developing Hip Bursitis?

There’s no guaranteed way to avoid hip bursitis, and the condition can occur no matter how fit and healthy you are. That being said, there are certain things we can do to reduce the chances of developing joint problems.

Earlier in this post, I mentioned my friend and colleague who recently recovered from hip bursitis. Like me, she’s a postmenopausal woman who wants to avoid these kinds of physical issues in the future. So, she’s making some lifestyle changes, and I’m joining her.

Here are some of the changes we’re making:

Losing weight

Though neither of us has a great deal of weight to lose, carrying any kind of excess weight can cause additional strain on the joints. This extra pressure can lead to increased friction and inflammation, which can cause bursitis.

So, I’m aiming to lose 15 lbs, which will put me in the ideal weight range for my age and height.

Stretching

Stretching exercises can help to increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Injury is one of the leading causes of hip bursitis, so it’s important to stay limber in order to minimize the risks.

Exercising Regularly

Along with stretching, my friend and I are implementing regular aerobic and strength training exercises into our routine. Exercise strengthens the muscles which surround the joints. This helps to prevent injury and maintain proper range of motion.

Another joint-friendly benefit of regular exercise is that it can help to stave off osteoarthritis. This common joint disease is more likely to occur after menopause, so it’s particularly important to stay active during this phase of life.

Eating A Healthy Diet

Research suggests that a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and other processed foods increases the risk of developing joint issues in later life.

Conversely, a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein, and omega-3s reduces the risk and keeps the musculoskeletal system healthy.

How is Hip Bursitis Treated?

How is Hip Bursitis Treated?

If you’re diagnosed with hip bursitis, your doctor will likely suggest one or more of the following treatments:

Rest

Rest is the most crucial element of recovery from any form of bursitis, including hip bursitis.

Avoid repetitive movements and activities that could contribute to inflammation in the hip joints until your symptoms improve. This includes running and prolonged walking.

When the inflammation has subsided, reintroduce movement slowly to avoid reinflaming the joint.

Ice

Try applying an ice pack to the affected area. This is a simple type of cold therapy that works by constricting the blood vessels to minimize blood flow, helping to reduce swelling and inflammation. In turn, it alleviates the pain and speeds up the healing process.

Never apply ice directly to the skin. This can result in burns. Instead, wrap the ice in a towel or t-shirt before applying, and do not leave it on for more than 15 -20 minutes at a time.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Inflammation is the driving force behind hip bursitis. So, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation in the affected area while also reducing pain.

NSAIDs can be a useful tool in the recovery process from hip bursitis; however, they shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution. Always consult your doctor before taking this type of medication, be aware of the side effects, and follow the dosage guidelines on the label.

Aspiration

Aspiration is a procedure where fluid is drained from the affected area of the joint using a needle. This is done by a trained healthcare professional in instances of severe hip bursitis involving a significant amount of fluid in the bursae.

The results are decreased pain and swelling and a quicker healing time.

Cortisone Injections

In cases where hip bursitis causes significant pain, your doctor may prescribe a cortisone injection, which is administered to the affected area. This is sometimes done in conjunction with aspiration.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist may be able to perform physical manipulation techniques that can reduce the inflammation on your affected hip joint while the healing process takes place.

A qualified physical therapist can also identify any movement or alignment issues that may be contributing to your symptoms or causing recurrent flare-ups. They may prescribe an exercise plan to help strengthen other muscles in the body to alleviate pressure on the affected hip.

Surgery

Most people with hip bursitis will not require surgery. However, in more severe cases, your doctor may suggest a minimally invasive procedure known as an arthroscopic bursectomy. This is more common in recurrent cases of hip bursitis.

During the procedure, the affected bursae are removed using a small incision. Recovery is usually quick, and the patient can resume their normal activities within 1-2 weeks.

FAQs

How long does it take to recover from hip bursitis?

Every case is different; however, with the correct treatment and adequate rest, most people fully recover within six to eight weeks.

Do men also get hip bursitis?

Yes. Although hip bursitis is more common in menopausal or postmenopausal women, men of all ages can also develop the condition.

Can hormone replacement therapy (HRT) help to prevent hip bursitis?

Although hormone replacement therapy (HRT) isn’t prescribed as a direct preventative treatment for hip bursitis, women who take this type of medication may be at a reduced risk of developing the condition. This is because HRT replaces lost estrogen in the body, which can lead to increased bone density and joint lubrication.

However, HRT isn’t suitable for everyone due to the potential risk of side effects. Talk to your doctor to find out if you’re a suitable candidate for HRT.

Conclusion

Hip bursitis is a painful condition that can limit movement and interfere with your day-to-day life. Menopause can increase your chances of developing the condition, so it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms and follow the correct treatment protocols if you’re diagnosed.

The good news is that most people will recover from hip bursitis within 6-8 weeks. So, if you suspect that you or a loved one may have hip bursitis, visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. They can assess your symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and prescribe a treatment plan that can help you find relief.

Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.

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