Menopause comes with many noticeable changes in the body, but how does menopause affect bone health? And what happens if you get menopause earlier in life?
Menopause, defined as the permanent cessation of menstrual periods, typically occurs around age 50. Some women experience early-menopause, which is when menopause occurs before age 40. During menopause, estrogen levels drop significantly leading to a number of changes. Estrogen is a hormone that helps maintain bone strength. Because of this, decreasing estrogen levels can lead to changes in healthy bone formation and growth. When estrogen levels decrease earlier than usual, this can have an added effect.
A recent study from Endocrine Connections looked into this phenomenon and found that women with premature menopause have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis compared to women who went through menopause later.
Premature menopause can have a number of different causes. Specifically, this study focused on Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (often referred to as POI), which is one of the causes of premature menopause. It is estimated to affect 1-3% of the population. The study found that women with premature menopause from POI were more likely to have osteoporosis than their peers (17% as compared to 11%).
If you went through or are currently going through premature menopause, make sure you speak with your doctor about what you can do for your bone health and how exercise, diet and lifestyle can play a role in your health.