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Understanding the Connection Between Menopause and Bone Loss

Simply stated, beware of osteoporosis if you’re a postmenopausal woman. About 1 in 2 postmenopausal women will develop osteoporosis and suffer a fracture at some point in their lifetime. 

Menopause speeds up bone loss. Here at Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland, the experienced team wants you to know that early treatment can help you avoid devastating complications, including fractures that can cause pain and limit your mobility. 

This National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, learn about why menopause affects bone loss and what you can do to protect your bone health.

About osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that leaves bones brittle and weak. They can become so vulnerable that even bending over or coughing can cause them to break or fracture.

Keep in mind that bone is a tissue. Your body constantly creates bone cells and breaks them down. When your body doesn’t create enough new bone cells to make up for those that are lost, you have osteoporosis. 

Men and women can develop osteoporosis, but white and Asian women are at greatest risk — especially if they’re past menopause. This is because a reduction in estrogen production damages bone health.

The estrogen-bone connection

As you approach menopause, hormone levels fluctuate, which causes the textbook symptoms of hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and weight gain. Once you’ve gone 12 months without a period, you’re in menopause and estrogen levels drop. 

Estrogen slows the natural breakdown of bone. So, when it slows dramatically, bone loss speeds up and creation of new bone slows down. 

Menopausal women are also at a higher risk of osteoporosis because they often don’t get enough minerals to maintain healthy bones. If you don’t get enough calcium, your body takes calcium from your bones to support important functions, leaving bones weak and vulnerable to fractures. 

You also need adequate vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without vitamin D, you can take all the calcium you please but it won’t get absorbed. 

Treating bone loss

Here at Capital Women’s Care, we offer medications and hormone therapies to lessen further bone loss and stimulate new bone formation. Ask your provider whether oral, IV (intravenous), or injections are right for you. 

Hormone therapy can also slow the breakdown of bone. Hormone therapy has other benefits, too. It can help you with other issues associated with menopause, including hot flashes and vaginal dryness. 

We work with you to determine the best treatments for you to prevent fractures and bone loss with minimal side effects. 

Our team also urges lifestyle changes that promote healthy bones. These include limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, exercising regularly (especially with weight-bearing exercises), and staying at a healthy weight. We can help you choose foods or supplements that are rich in vitamin D and calcium. 

If you’re approaching menopause or are postmenopausal, the OB/GYN team here at Capital Women’s Care is ready to help. 

We can alleviate your uncomfortable symptoms and reduce the risks of osteoporosis and other health concerns that accompany this change in life. Call or use this website to set up your visit today.

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