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What Every Woman Should Know About Bone Health After Menopause

May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, a time to shine a spotlight on a health issue that women are particularly at risk for after menopause. The good news is that women can take steps to protect their bones and keep them strong as they age.

Here at the Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas, board-certified OB/GYN Sharon Breit, MD, and Kelsey Barnickle, APRN, are dedicated to helping women stay healthy and thrive throughout every life phase. 

Menopause ushers in a phase when your body contends with lower estrogen levels, and it’s this lack of estrogen that can place bone health at risk. 

The impact of menopause on bone health

Estrogen is vital for bone health. It helps regulate bone breakdown and renewal. After menopause, the rapid decrease in estrogen levels can lead to an increase in bone resorption — when bone breaks down faster than it is created. 

This imbalance can lead to osteoporosis, characterized by porous and fragile bones that are more susceptible to fractures, even from minor falls or injuries.

Key strategies for maintaining bone health

The following are recommended strategies for protecting your bones after menopause.

Getting enough calcium

Calcium is the dietary foundation for strong bones. Postmenopausal women should aim for at least 1,200 mg of calcium per day. Good sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt, as well as green leafy vegetables, and fortified foods.

Vitamin D supplementation

Vitamin D works in a synergistic manner with calcium by helping your body absorb calcium. It’s recommended that women over 50 get 800-1000 IU of vitamin D daily.

 Sun exposure can help increase vitamin D levels, but many women may need supplements to reach their daily goals, especially in winter or in northern latitudes.

Regular exercise

Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and dancing, and strength training can help you build and maintain bone density. Make it a priority to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise each week.

Lifestyle modifications

It’s always best to avoid smoking and drinking excess alcohol, but this is even more important after menopause. Smoking and consuming too much alcohol have negative impacts on bone health. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol if you do drink it can benefit your bone health.

Bone density testing

Regular bone density tests help us assess your risks and track your bone health, especially for women over 65 or those who have risk factors for osteoporosis. These scans are critical to detect declining bone health early. 

Risk factors and prevention

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, including genetics, body size, and ethnic background, with Caucasian and Asian women at higher risk. 

While some of these factors are beyond your control, proactive steps can reduce your personal risk. We can discuss any personal risk factors with you and provide tailored recommendations. 

Hormone replacement therapy 

The Center for Women’s Health provides bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. BioTe® hormone pellet therapy is a customized treatment that replaces the hormones your body no longer makes. This can protect your bone health, and the sooner after menopause you start, the better. 

Our team is dedicated to supporting you in maintaining strong bones throughout menopause and beyond. Contact us for further guidance and to schedule a bone density test or consultation. Maintain strong bones today for stronger bones tomorrow.

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