Changing levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone have a role to play in age-related inflammation. We still don’t understand all the connections, but it appears that a decrease in estrogen corresponds with a rise in the cytokines interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. This changes the rate at which new bone is formed, a leading indicator of osteoporosis.
We suspect that before menopause the balance of hormones has a calming effect on inflammation, but hormones work on so many levels that it is difficult to identify the exact process. What we do know is that symptoms of chronic inflammation often become more apparent during and after menopause.
The hormonal changes leading up to menopause also contribute to weight gain. And there is clear evidence that extra fat cells, especially around the middle of the body, add to systemic inflammation by creating extra cytokines and C-reactive protein.