For women entering menopause, there are a long list of symptoms often experienced both during the transition into menopause, and after it has concluded. Osteoporosis is a common disease that develops during menopause and can put women at an increased risk of breaking bones or suffering from fractures. The disease is characterised as the weakening of the bones due to the occurrence of bone loss. This can cause the bones to become fragile and brittle.
With menopause, the disease most commonly develops due to low hormone levels and infrequent menstrual periods that occur during the transition. Women who enter menopause often have an increased risk of developing the disease, but can prevent and even reduce the effect of the condition.
Below we discuss 4 symptoms of menopause which are related to osteoporosis.
A Lack of Oestrogen
The levels of oestrogen in the female body decreases rapidly once women enter the first stages of menopause, and can last for five to 10 years. Oestrogen works to protect the bones and is produced by the ovaries, but can make the bones susceptible to breakage when there is not enough of the compound produced in the body. A healthcare provider may be able to prescribe oestrogen with progesterone hormone therapy to prevent bone loss from occurring or progressing. Oestrogen replacement can work to protect bone mass and increase bone density while also protecting the bones from becoming fractured.
Slower Bone Formation
Bone loss is commonplace in the body, but it is naturally reproduced at a frequent rate during a woman’s lifetime. With menopause, bone loss can occur more rapidly than bone formation occurs because the lower levels of oestrogen are not able to reform the bones as quickly.
Low Oestrogen Levels
Oestrogen helps to keep the bones strong and healthy throughout a woman’s life. But the levels can drop during menopause when most women turn 50 and they begin to experience a loss of a consistent menstrual cycle. This causes increased bone loss and can increase an individual’s chances of suffering from osteoporosis.
Low Vitamin D Levels
Low vitamin D levels are another contributing factor in the development of osteoporosis during menopause. Low levels of this vitamin make it important to have plenty of sun exposure. Although vitamin D is often available in small amounts in foods, you can still receive a fair amount of it through your diet. Womens health consultants recommend eating more fatty fish, fish oils, mushrooms, tofu, fortified cereals, eggs, pork and dairy products throughout the week.
Having a blood test will also make it possible to monitor your body’s vitamin D levels and determine how much of it should be supplemented in your diet. At least 1000 mg of calcium should also be consumed each day to strengthen the bones along with vitamin D. To consume more calcium, you should focus on increasing your intake of milk, kale, broccoli, cottage cheese, and yoghurt while taking supplements to accompany these foods.
Although it can be difficult to prevent osteoporosis during menopause, there are a number of ways to reduce the symptoms and increase the strength of your bones to prevent fractures. Experts recommend treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, as well as consuming vitamin D and calcium supplements. Alongside these consider taking bisphosphonates, performing resistance-training exercises, and avoid high-impact activities.
It may not be impossible to avoid menopause with age, but you can significantly reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis with a few subtle changes to your lifestyle. If you would like help and advice on the menopause and lowering the risk of osteoporosis, contact one of our Glenville Nutrition Clinics to book a consultation with one of our qualified nutritionists.