Are you at that time of your life when you are thinking that you may be entering menopause? Then you should also be thinking about talking to your doctor about bone loss.
If your gynecologist is like mine, he started talking to you about calcium supplements in your early 30’s. If he hasn’t yet he will be talking to you soon, about one of the most serious side effects of menopause – bone loss.
Osteoporosis (as a result of menopause) is due to the reduction in the production of estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone that gives you your feminine look but it also functions to keep your bones strong. Family history also plays an important role in the development of menopausal-related bone loss.
It’s important to get a test to check your bone mass by having your doctor perform a bone density test. If you do this test before menopause, you can have a baseline result, so that you can know for sure whether menopause is contributing to your bone loss or not. While menopause can be an indicator that a woman is at more risk for developing bone loss it is not the only indicator. Other indicators for bone loss besides menopause are:
- Being White or Asian
- Small Frame
- Being Thin
- Lactose Intolerant
- Low Vitamin D Levels
- Low Calcium Levels
- Cigarette Smoking
- Abusing Alcohol or Drugs
If you have any of these indicators and are nearing menopause, get a bone density test because there are things that you can do to lessen your chances of developing osteoporosis. Eating right, exercising, and taking good general care of yourself can keep your bones healthy. If you have children, especially girls, ensure that they keep their Vitamin D and Calcium at optimal levels through their development. A woman usually has her most dense bones at about age 30, so if you build until then, you’re going to lower your risk of osteoporosis substantially.
It should be said that menopause does not cause bone loss. Instead, the lack of estrogen that signals the ovaries to stop producing eggs can lead to bone related issues. Not all women in menopause have bone loss. Some women who still have their periods have osteoporosis, so it is more than likely that health and heredity play a bigger factor than menopause on bone loss in women. To help yourself avoid bone loss:
- Exercise Daily — Include weight-bearing exercises in your daily exercise regimen. Just ten minutes per day will make a huge difference.
- Eat a Balanced Diet — While experts disagree on what is a balanced diet, generally a diet that is very colorful, full of natural, whole foods, and void of fake foods will keep you the most healthy.
- Avoid Unnecessary Medications — Steroids, antacids, and even hormone replacement medication can increase your chances of experiencing bone loss.
In her book, “The Whole Foods Guide to Strong Bones“, Anne Marie Colbin says that collagen is just as important as calcium in the battle against osteoporosis. The best way to get collagen? Make your own bone broth. You say, “How the heck do you do that? I say easy peasy.
I save all my turkey carcasses from Thanksgiving Day, or whole chickens I roast and then the next day I put them in the biggest soup pot I have, cover them with water and let them simmer all day.
The collagen that is left in the bones comes out in the water. Then I use that broth for soup or whatever I would use canned broth for.
Menopause-related bone loss doesn’t have to happen if you take care of yourself, exercise, and eat right. But since menopause is a natural state that will happen with every woman who lives long enough, it’s important to concentrate on being healthy throughout your life to help avoid this potentially damaging side effect.