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Why does menopause affect bone health?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis because the ovaries stop producing estrogen. This female hormone protects against bone loss. At this point in your life, bone loss is faster than bone formation, so bones tend to weaken and become more brittle. It is important to be aware of these changes to bone structure so you can improve bone health. Added calcium can help strengthen bones, so the chance of fracture is lessened.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Estrogen loss. When you hit menopause, your ovaries reduce the production of a hormone, called estrogen. Estrogen has its hand in a huge range of bodily functions (not those ones), including bone health. In young, healthy women, if all is well on the bone front, bone is remodeled daily. This means that bone is built more than it’s broken down, which makes sense since that’s when you do most of your growing (vertically, that is). But somewhere in your 30s, bone resorption (breakdown) begins, exceeding bone buildup.

Now let’s add estrogen into the mix: Before menopause, estrogen preserves bone density by protecting the cells in charge of building up bones. Without estrogen as your bone bodyguard, you end up losing bone. Estrogen’s disappearing act during menopause exacerbates already weakened bones.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.