Understanding the Impact of Menopause on Your Bones
I mean, with all the many symptoms that are attached to perimenopause and menopause who would’ve thought the bone health would be so important? I know it is something that I have really researched recently, as I am a runner, so I wanted to discover learn and research as to why my joints and bones were performing in a different way than they had usually done for many years.
When it comes to women's bone health, menopause plays a significant role. During menopause, the estrogen hormone, which is crucial for maintaining bone density and strength, decreases. As a result, bone density starts to decline, leading to reduced bone strength and an increased risk of fractures.
The Rate of Bone Changes
The decade after the cessation of menstrual periods is a crucial period when bone changes can happen more rapidly. However, the gradual loss of bone density continues throughout old age, affecting men as well.
The Importance of Early Menopause
If you experience early menopause, which occurs before the age of 45, and especially before 40, the process of bone density loss will happen for a longer duration. This means that you are more likely to develop osteoporosis and have weaker bones later in life.
Seeking Professional Advice
If you find yourself facing early menopause, it's important to consult with your healthcare professional about hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Usually recommended until around the age of 50, HRT can help maintain bone strength and put you in a similar position to other women. If you haven't had a hysterectomy, combining progesterone with estrogen is necessary to protect your womb lining from certain cancers.
Dealing with Early Menopause
Experiencing early menopause can be a distressing experience, especially if it occurs much earlier than expected. While it may be challenging to think about bone health during this time, it's crucial to do so for the future. If you decide to take HRT to manage your menopause symptoms, the good news is that it will also protect your bones.
Other Risk Factors During Menopause
Menopause brings with it additional risk factors for osteoporosis and fractures. These may include a strong family history of osteoporosis, certain medical conditions, or medications that weaken your bones. Breaking a bone easily is also a significant risk factor. If you experience a simple fall resulting in a wrist or hip fracture, make sure to have your bones checked by a healthcare professional and discuss your risk factors with them.
Medications to Strengthen Bones
For women under 50 who have passed menopause, HRT is typically considered the most suitable treatment for osteoporosis. It effectively reduces the risk of fractures by providing a similar hormone exposure to the average woman. While there have been concerns about the potential health risks of long-term HRT use, recent research studies have provided more reassuring evidence. The current consensus is that, for most women, short-term HRT use outweighs any risks. Additionally, experts may consider HRT as a useful option for osteoporosis treatment in women between 50 and 60 after careful consideration of individual risks and benefits. Other bone-strengthening medications are generally recommended for women over 60. I personally also believe that taking good supplementation at this time, really will need your bone strength, bone density and malleability of your joints. Maybe consider taking a vitamin D, calcium and/or magnesium supplement?
Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle
Menopause is an opportune time to reflect on positive lifestyle changes that can benefit your bone health. Ensuring a healthy diet that includes a wide range of food groups is crucial for providing your bones with the necessary nutrients. Adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D intake is essential. It's also important to monitor and limit your alcohol intake, adhering to recommended limits. If you're a smoker, seeking help to quit is vital for your bone health and overall well-being.
Committing to regular weight-bearing, impact, and muscle-strengthening exercises will help keep your bones strong and improve balance.
By prioritising and taking action to maintain your bone health during menopause, you're setting a positive pattern for the years to come. The best part is that many lifestyle changes benefiting your bones also. Even if you aren’t mad on fitness and exercise, walking is such a strong thing to do, especially if you can do it on a regular basis at least 30 minutes three times a week. I hope you found this article useful. Don’t forget there are many other resources that you can get more information from and also do talk on our forum. It’s a great place to find other women who are experiencing symptoms like you are.
Have a fantastic rest of your day!
Love Angeline 🦋 x
Angeline Davies is a Fully Qualified Health Coach Specialising in Perimenopause and Menopause.
Accredited By The PCI and The Royal College of General Practitioners.