What does menopause have to do with osteoporosis Are there different kinds of osteoporosis

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There are actually two types of osteoporosis: primary osteoporosis and secondary osteoporosis. Either type can affect men, women, and children. Primary osteoporosis is age-related and affects women more severely and earlier in life than men. Secondary osteoporosis is caused by other disease processes or medications used to treat various diseases or problems. Secondary osteoporosis is also more common in women because the illnesses that cause bone loss or the problems that require medications that affect bone remodeling more often affect women.

Primary osteoporosis, although occurring in both men and women, is age-related and tends to occur mostly in women and about 10 years earlier than in men. This is because the rate of bone loss is different in women than men. Women rapidly lose bone in the four to eight years after menopause, and then continue with the slower rate of bone loss like men, who also experience bone loss over many years. Bone loss from primary osteoporosis is most common in the hip, but can affect all bones in the body.

Thyroid hormones

Secreted by the thyroid gland, regulate the body's metabolism and help to control the rate at which bone remodeling occurs.

Insulin

A hormone secreted by the pancreas to help the body use carbohydrates and sugar; has effects on bone growth.

Leptin

A hormone found in fat cells that has effects on bone growth.

Sex hormones

Hormones such as estrogen and testosterone that are important for bone growth and for maintaining bone mass.

Estrogen

A hormone secreted by the ovaries in women and in body tissues in both women and men.

Testosterone

A hormone formed by the testes in males and, to a far lesser degree, by the ovary and adrenal glands in women; important for normal sexual development and function in both men and women.

Primary osteoporosis

A bone disease that is age-related; affects women more severely and earlier in life than men.

Secondary osteoporosis

Caused by other disease processes or medications used to treat various diseases or problems.

Menopause

The specific point in time in women occurring after twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period that does not have another identifiable cause, such as illness or medication.

Postmenopause

The time following menopause, when women rapidly lose bone and may develop osteoporosis.

Estrogen therapy (ET)

Estrogen-containing products used in the treatment of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Estrogen taken for this purpose is called MHT (menopause hormone therapy).

Hot flashes

Sensations of heat, occurring during perimenopause and often well into post-menopause, that begin at the head and spread over the entire body.

Nightsweats

Sweating that occurs at night resulting from hot flashes during peri-menopause and postmenopause.

Primary osteoporosis affects the entire skeleton, particularly in women following menopause. Natural menopause is medically defined as the specific point in time occurring after twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period that does not have another identifiable cause, such as illness or medication. Postmenopause, the time following menopause, is when many women develop osteoporosis. The decrease in bone mass in postmenopausal women is a direct result of the loss of estrogen. Menopause for any reason (e.g. surgery, chemotherapy) can cause bone loss.

Postmenopausal women lose about 2% and sometimes even up to 5% of their bone mass per year for the first four to eight years following menopause. Twenty percent of their total bone loss takes place in those first four to eight years after menopause. The majority of Caucasian women can expect to have osteopenia or osteoporosis once they have been in postmenopause for 10 years.

Because primary osteoporosis is caused mostly by estrogen loss in women, one of the preventive treatments for primary osteoporosis in women is estrogen therapy (ET). Estrogen (with or without progesterone) is usually prescribed to prevent osteoporosis only if the woman also has significant other symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. When estrogen therapy is used for the relief of menopause symptoms, it's called menopause hormone therapy (MHT). If you have a uterus, progesterone must be added to the estrogen therapies (see Question 64). An estrogen patch is also available to prevent the bone loss associated with postmenopause, but it is not intended to treat hot flashes (see Question 65).

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