If rheumatoid arthritis symptoms improve during pregnancy, why women are not treated with hormones?

  • Welcome to health SE :-). For future questions, it would be great if you included some of your own research into the question. Thanks!
    – Lucky
    Dec 14, 2016 at 0:19
  • Pregnancy is a state of alerted immunity, primarily so that the mother does not reject the developing fetus. A side effect of this is that some people with autoimmune diseases may improve. Dec 23, 2016 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


Women are actually treated with hormones, just ones that aren't estrogen/progesterone/ect..

People with severe RA are treated with glucocorticoids in order to decrease T and B cell proliferation that further damage to the synovial joints. These hormones have long term health impacts (such as Cushing's disease) and should be used as a last ditch effort.

Hormones such as progesterone and estrogen, which are at elevated levels during pregnancy, may decrease T cell and B cell proliferation to an extent, but they are not as efficacious as glucocorticoids. Furthermore, estrogen and progesterone are related to many other autoimmune diseases: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775536_5

Here is information regarding estrogen's role in decreasing T cell proliferation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8955504

*Note: women who are young enough to conceive without medical assistance may still have a thymus. The reduction in thymus activity by estrogen may decrease RA symptoms. However, older women do not have a thymus and will not experience any effects like this from estrogen.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.