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Understanding the connection between Menopause and bone health


Ladies skeleton
Menopause Wellness Centre - Menopause and Bone Health

As women transition through menopause, they face a myriad of physical and hormonal changes. One crucial aspect often overlooked is bone health. Menopause can significantly impact bone density, leading to an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures.


Oestrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining bone density by inhibiting bone breakdown and stimulating bone formation. As oestrogen levels decline during menopause, bone turnover increases, leading to a gradual loss of bone density.


Bone density peaks in early adulthood and gradually declines with age. However, the decline accelerates during and after menopause due to oestrogen deficiency. This loss of bone density increases the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterised by fragile and porous bones prone to fractures. Women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis, with studies showing that they are more likely to develop the condition compared to men.


Beyond the direct impact on bone density, menopausal symptoms can also influence bone health. For example, hot flashes and night sweats may disrupt sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and decreased physical activity. Reduced physical activity can contribute to muscle weakness and loss of bone mass. Additionally, hormonal fluctuations during menopause can affect calcium metabolism, further compromising bone health.


There are, however, proactive steps women can take to support their skeletal system:

 

  • Eating a calcium-rich diet: Consuming foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products, leafy greens, fortified cereals, and nuts, can help maintain bone density. If you don’t eat dairy, look for plant-based milks and products which included added calcium.

  • Vitamin D Supplementation: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and bone health. Since natural sources of vitamin D are limited, especially living in the UK, consider taking vitamin D supplements to ensure adequate levels.

  • Regular Exercise: Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, dancing, and also including strength training, help stimulate bone growth and maintain bone density. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intense exercise most days of the week. Also make sure it’s mixed – so not all running, all walking etc. You do need to strength train too.

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): HRT can help alleviate menopausal symptoms and prevent bone loss by replenishing oestrogen levels. I am aware that not everyone can take (or even want to take) HRT. It is incredibly beneficial if you can take it but it's essential to discuss in full with a healthcare provider.

If you do want help with your menopause journey, needing support or guidance, want to improve your fitness levels, increase your strength…. Then contact me. I offer support both face to face and online. sharon@menopausewellnesscentre.com 07791 973321

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