Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones, resulting in an increased risk of bone loss as well as bone fractures. In the United States alone, more than 8 million women have osteoporosis – yet many women don’t realize they have the disease until they experience a painful fracture. Unfortunately, once you have sustained an osteoporosis-related fracture, the chance of future fractures is very high.
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, including menopause. Whether you have experienced menopause or not, understanding the relationship between osteoporosis and menopause is important to your present and future health.
Does Menopause Cause Osteoporosis?
The hormone estrogen helps to protect the bones. But during perimenopause and menopause, the body experiences a drop in estrogen. As a result, women may have significant bone loss, which can lead to fractures.
Studies have shown that the lack of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause and the development of osteoporosis are directly related.
Common Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
The following are common risk factors that put you at risk of developing osteoporosis:
Age: Women reach their maximum bone density at around 30 years old. Past this age, bone density begins to naturally decline. When women go through menopause, their estrogen levels drop. As a result of this, bone density decreases at an accelerated rate.
Ethnicity: Research shows that Caucasian and Asian women have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis.
Body Structure: Women who are petite and thin have an increased risk because they have less bone to lose.
Family History: If your parents or grandparents have or had osteoporosis, you are at risk of developing the disease as well.
Medications: Certain medications including long-term use of steroids can increase your risk.
You Don’t Get Your Period: Women who do not get their period typically have significantly lower levels of estrogen than those who do. This includes women who are perimenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal. Women who haven’t gone through menopause but don’t get their period for a different reason such as low body weight also have decreased levels of estrogen which, as we know, can expedite the decline of bone density.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, your doctor will help you choose the best treatment to preserve your bones and prevent the disease from worsening. Treatment for osteoporosis may include:
- Calcium and Vitamin D supplements
- Medications like Alendronate, Ibandronate, Raloxifene, Risedronate, and Zoledronic acid-water
- Injectable Abaloparatide, Teriparatide, or PTH to rebuild bone
- Hormone therapy
Natural Remedies for Osteoporosis
Certain natural remedies may help treat osteoporosis. As always, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any treatment regimen. In addition to Calcium and Vitamin D, other natural remedies include:
- Vitamin K
- Bone Morphogenic Proteins (BMPs)
How to Prevent Bone Loss During Menopause
There are lots of ways to strengthen your bones naturally and protect yourself against osteoporosis while you are in perimenopause, menopause, or postmenopause, including:
Eat a Calcium-rich Diet
Foods that are high in Calcium can help protect your bones.
If you are going through menopause or are postmenopausal, we recommend getting 1,200 milligrams of Calcium daily. Foods like dairy products (preferably low-fat options), dark green leafy vegetables like kale and broccoli, salmon, and Calcium-fortified orange juice are all good sources of Calcium.
Consider Taking Supplements
Sometimes getting enough Calcium in the food you eat is challenging but supplements can help you reach your Calcium intake goals. As always, check with your doctor before starting any new supplements.
Get Enough Vitamin D
Your body needs Vitamin D to absorb Calcium. Most people can get all the Vitamin D they need naturally by being out in the sun for 20 minutes a day. If this isn’t possible, consider increasing your intake of foods rich in Vitamin D like eggs and salmon.
One of the most important things you can do to prevent osteoporosis is to exercise regularly. Weight-bearing exercises in particular (such as walking, running, and stair climbing) help protect bone density. If possible, do weight-bearing exercises at least three times a week for around 45 minutes per session.
Talk To Your Doctor about Hormone Therapy
Estrogen helps protect against bone loss, but if you are menopausal or postmenopausal, your body will experience a steep decline in this important hormone. Sometimes to help prevent osteoporosis, doctors will suggest estrogen therapy.
Estrogen therapy works to replace the estrogen once it has been lost. This helps to slow bone loss and improve the body’s absorption of Calcium. Estrogen therapy carries certain risks and is only intended for women who are at high risk of developing osteoporosis.
Consider Other Lifestyle Changes
In addition to eating a Calcium-rich diet and getting enough exercise, consider the following in preventing osteoporosis:
Smoking can seriously increase your risk of developing osteoporosis as well as other potentially fatal diseases.
Getting enough sleep may help prevent osteoporosis. Studies have found that women over the age of 50 who frequently slept less than six hours a night had a dramatically increased risk of osteoporosis.
Request An Appointment At The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re concerned that perimenopause or menopause is making you more susceptible to osteoporosis, we can help you. If you already have osteoporosis and want to discuss treatment options, our team is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.