Does Menopause Cause Bone loss? and Why?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 
Q: I am 51 years old female experiencing menopause from last 2 years. From few days I also get joint pain in knee and elbow along with hot flashes and night sweats. I can understand about hot flashes and night sweats but what about joint pain? Does menopause really cause bone loss? What is the reason behind it? What should I do now?
Expert Answer

As one goes through the various stages of life, the bones in the body keep growing, especially up to the time a woman gets in to the transition period of menopause, commonly known as perimenopause. During perimenopausal period, which is usually in the mid-30s, one may start losing bones at a higher rate in relation to the rate at which replacement can occur. As one moves further into menopause and Postmenopause, the situation can only deteriorate, especially with reduced* production of estrogen. This hormone is to a very large extent associated with strengthening of all bones and muscles in the body. It is this dwindling of estrogen levels, unless replacement therapies are administered, that is crucial to development of bones, their maintenance, and their proper functioning. If care is not taken, it can actually result in very weak bones, and expose them to high chances of fractures.

Who is at Risk of Bone Loss?

Menopause Cause Bone loss

Although anyone can be a victim of bone loss because of aging and the challenges thereof, there are isolated cases of individuals who could be more vulnerable.

  • People with small body frames are more prone than those with thick and heavy ones
  • Women, whose lineage has cases of low mass bones (osteopenia), can genetically fall prey of this condition
  • If one does not include nutrients/minerals that strengthen* bones, that is foods rich in calcium; this could be risky to bone formation and development
  • Save for those in places like Africa where Vitamin D is readily available from the Sun, Whites and Asians are at a higher risk of poor bone development and maintenance, unless they make use of Vitamin D supplements
  • Those practicing poor lifestyle behaviors like smoking of cigars and consumptions of excessive alcohol
  • People, who undermine the need to engage in physical exercises, whether small or intense, would generally have lower immune systems and weaker bodies, thus higher risks

Reasons for Bone Loss

Bone loss is attributed to a number of factors, the primary of which is old age. As discussed earlier, old age comes with decreased* levels of estrogen hormone production. Since this hormone caters for bone formation and development, the effects of low levels can only mean one thing, loss of bones.

On the other hand, bone loss can be as a result of the medical record of one’s family. If your family has members who have suffered osteoporosis, there is always a high chance that you are a victim of inheritance.

Loss of bones could also be necessitated by the choices people make with regard to their lifestyles- choice of foods, drinks, and physical exercises. Those that take heed the need to watch over their drinking and smoking habits, coupled with light or heavy physical exercises, stand better* chances of overcoming this challenge.

How do you Know if you Have Bone Loss?

There are no two ways about identifying the condition of your bones, besides going for a medical test for bone density/thickness. All you may need to do is to seek guidance from your health care provider to this effect. The test should be able to give accurate results on the density of the major bones in the body.

Recommendations for Testing for Bone Density

As long as you belong to either or all of the risk factors discussed above, by virtue of age or menopause, you need to go for bone density testing- the earlier, the better*.

How Do You Minimize and Treat* Bone Loss?

Bone loss can indeed be minimized* and treated, if one takes into account changes in lifestyle, prescribed medications, and use of mineral supplements like Calcium and Vitamin D.

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Author

Expert Author : Lisiana Carter (Consumer Health Digest)

Lisiana Carter has been a freelance health writer for over ten years having written books, blogs and articles. She is the author of a number of websites and teaches people how to enter the freelance writing field.