Tricks to Strengthen Your Bones

Tthis is no denying that as we become older, the best way our our bodies transfer and really feel adjustments. We could really feel extra stiff as we climb away from bed within the morning, or have a tougher time touching our toes whereas warming up for a exercise or doing yoga.

Sure, most of those signs are par for the course. However you could not understand that a few of them really stem from menopause—a life transition marked by the top of menstruation.

Probably the most talked-about menopause signs are usually temper swings, sizzling flashes, and vaginal dryness—all largely resulting from shifts in hormones—however do you know your bones could be affected, too? Extra particularly, your bone density can decline throughout menopause, and like different signs, there is not any telling how lengthy it’ll final.

Fortunately, there are methods to maintain your bones wholesome and powerful throughout menopause, a few of which could be began lengthy earlier than you even enter this post-menses interval. Learn on to be taught extra from an OB/GYN professional.

Why your bone density adjustments throughout menopause

Your bone density begins to lower when estrogen ranges dip throughout menopause, says Lauren Streicher, MD, an OB/GYN and founding father of the Northwestern Medication Heart for Sexual Medication and Menopause.

“Your bones are loaded with hormone receptors and are depending on estrogen to each construct new bone and stop the breakdown of previous bone,” she says. “When estrogen ranges decline, that course of will get disrupted. The result’s bone that is decrease in density, extra fragile, and extra more likely to fracture.”

As much as 20 p.c of this bone loss occurs inside the first 5 years of menopause, per the Cleveland Clinic, which regularly begins between the ages of 45 and 55. Although some individuals can undergo it earlier (age 40 or youthful) resulting from genetics, a hysterectomy, or different types of medically induced menopause, per The North American Menopause Society.

“When estrogen ranges decline, and bone constructing is disrupted, the result’s bone that has a decrease density, is extra fragile, and is extra more likely to fracture.”—Laura Streicher, MD, OB/GYN

How menopause can negatively have an effect on bone well being

The hormone fluctuations that occur throughout menopause can result in a situation referred to as osteoporosis—a illness the slowly weakens your bones, placing them in danger for fracture and breaks, per Penn Medication.

Anybody can get osteoporosis, however “the lack of estrogen makes ladies 5 occasions extra possible than males to have osteoporosis,” says Dr. Streicher. “It’s because males’s bones proceed to be protected by testosterone.”

Over time, osteoporosis could make your bones weaker, extra fragile, and extra liable to breaks. It additionally typically goes undetected till you’ve a sudden fracture—often in your again or hips—which is why it is generally known as a “silent illness,” in accordance with Dr. Streicher. And simply because it is common (affecting about 10 million ladies within the U.S. alone, per Dr. Streicher), doesn’t suggest it comes with out threat.

“If osteoporosis is superior, you could discover a loss in top or again ache, however most individuals with low bone mass or osteoporosis do not know they’re in danger for a probably life-changing or deadly fracture,” says Dr. Streicher.

Deaths from hip fractures alone are uncommon nowadays, particularly with all of the technological developments in drugs, however one February 2014 evaluate in Acta Otrhopaedica (which collected information from 30 years’ value of randomized managed trials) discovered that the one-year loss of life price after a surgically handled hip fracture nonetheless sits at about 21 p.c.

The easiest way you possibly can decide your threat? Get a bone density evaluation—also called a DEXA scan.

“A DEXA scan measures bone density in your hips, backbone, and generally your forearm,” says Dr. Streicher. “To find out your true threat of fracture, it is also vital to maintain different threat elements in thoughts, reminiscent of age, smoking, steroid use, arthritis, and household historical past.”

The most effective time to get your first DEXA screening will largely rely in your threat elements, however ought to occur no later than age 65, provides Dr. Streicher.

4 methods to make your bones stronger throughout menopause

There is no assure you possibly can utterly skirt the consequences of bone density loss throughout menopause. However there are steps you possibly can take (both throughout or properly earlier than you attain menopause) to assist preserve your bones as wholesome and powerful as potential. Listed here are some methods to strive, in accordance with Dr. Streicher:

1. Do weight-bearing workouts

Any form of train that places wholesome quantities of stress on our bones and muscle tissue may also help gradual bone loss, and even spur the expansion of latest bone, per Harvard Well being Publishing. That is referred to as weight-bearing train, and it entails utilizing your physique weight and/or exterior weights (like dumbbells) to straight work the bones in your legs, hips, and decrease backbone, per the Mayo Clinic.

Some examples of those bone-strengthening workouts embody strolling, dancing, jogging, energy coaching, and resistance coaching. These workouts produce other well being advantages, too, like bettering blood circulation and coronary heart well being, in accordance with the Mayo Clinic.

A superb rule of thumb: Intention to get at the very least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity train per week, together with two days of muscle-strengthening exercise, per the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC).

2. Eat meals excessive in calcium and vitamin D

The phrase, “you’re what you eat” exists for a cause. For instance, if you would like robust, wholesome bones, your food regimen ought to embody meals to mirror that. Among the best vitamins for bone well being is calcium—an important micronutrient to maintain your bones, coronary heart, and muscle tissue wholesome, per the Mayo Clinic.

Calcium is particularly vital for individuals going by way of menopause when your threat of bone loss will increase. That is why Dr. Streicher recommends rising your calcium consumption throughout this time—to keep up bone well being and assist construct new bone. Whereas adults beneath 50 want about 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, adults 50 and older want about 1,200 milligrams, per the Academy of Vitamin and Dietetics.

As a result of our our bodies can’t produce calcium on their very own, it is vital to be sure you’re getting sufficient by way of the meals you eat. Some meals excessive in calcium embody the next:

  • Milk or fortified soy milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Darkish leafy greens, like kale or spinach
  • Soybeans
  • Calcium-fortified tofu
  • Beans

Sure, calcium is the primary bone-building nutrient, however there are others you possibly can (and will) incorporate, too. Vitamin D, for instance, helps your physique soak up calcium and regulates blood ranges of calcium and phosphorus, each of that are wanted to construct bone, in accordance with Harvard Well being Publishing.

Hassle is, it may be robust to get sufficient vitamin D from meals alone (there aren’t many good sources on the market). And whereas your physique could make the nutrient from solar publicity, absorbing too many UV rays places you in danger for pores and skin most cancers. With all that in thoughts, take into account taking a vitamin D complement, says Dr. Streicher.

And naturally, for those who’re uncertain how a lot calcium and vitamin D you want per day, speak to your physician, who can supply some steerage and advocate high quality dietary supplements.

3. Give up smoking and restrict alcohol

Tobacco and alcohol negatively have an effect on our our bodies in some ways—bone well being included. Each substances can improve your threat of creating osteoporosis.

A January 2022 meta-analysis within the Worldwide Journal of Environmental Analysis and Public Well being discovered that heavy alcohol use was related to osteoporosis. Researchers additionally discovered that extreme alcohol interfered with contributors’ skill to soak up calcium, brought about hormone deficiencies, and elevated the chance of falling (which might result in fractures and breaks). Heavy consuming, on this case, usually means greater than eight to fifteen drinks per week, in accordance with the CDC.

Smoking or use of any tobacco merchandise may negatively have an effect on your bone well being by decreasing your bone density and contributing to bone loss, says Dr. Streicher. Smoking may even contribute to early menopause, dashing up bone loss and resulting in osteoporosis, in accordance with an August 2017 examine within the American Journal of Epidemiology.

For those who need assistance quitting, attain out to your physician, or search for smoking cessation and alcohol discount applications on-line and in your native space. Organizations just like the Nationwide Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism additionally supply a listing of locations to seek out and get assist.

4. Strive drugs or hormone remedy

In case your physician considers you “excessive threat” for osteoporosis, and the life-style adjustments you’ve got made aren’t serving to, therapies like remedy or hormone remedy might be good choices for you.

“Hormone remedy or remedy with a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) will assist preserve low bone density from progressing to osteoporosis,” says Dr. Streicher. “As soon as somebody has osteoporosis, there are additionally numerous drugs that may lower fracture threat.”

Frequent remedy choices for bone loss throughout menopause embody the next, per Dr. Streicher:

  • Raloxifene: A non-hormonal remedy that treats low bone mass
  • Bisphosphonates: Treatment prescribed to decelerate bone loss
  • Injectable drugs

It’s possible you’ll remember that hormone remedy may also help ease sizzling flashes throughout menopause, however you could not have identified it may possibly profit your bones, too, provides Dr. Streicher. The truth is, “hormone remedy is a confirmed technique to deal with low bone mass and stop osteoporosis, and its use could improve bone density by as a lot as 5 p.c.”

When to see a physician

It is pure to have slight adjustments in your bone density throughout menopause and as you age. But when it is affecting your high quality of life, it should not be ignored.

This is the reason Dr. Streicher recommends getting a bone density take a look at (DEXA scan) out of your physician earlier than you attain menopause, or at the very least previous to noticeable adjustments in your bone well being—like sudden fractures.

Speak to your physician about the most effective time to get this take a look at. It’s possible you’ll want one sooner than age 65 relying in your threat elements, whether or not you are in menopause, and you probably have signs like ache and soreness.

Nicely+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, current, strong research to again up the knowledge we share. You possibly can belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Mundi, Simran et al. “Related mortality charges in hip fracture sufferers over the previous 31 years.” Acta orthopaedica vol. 85,1 (2014): 54-9. doi:10.3109/17453674.2013.878831
  2. Godos, Justyna et al. “Alcohol Consumption, Bone Mineral Density, and Threat of Osteoporotic Fractures: A Dose-Response Meta-Evaluation.” Worldwide journal of environmental analysis and public well being vol. 19,3 1515. 28 Jan. 2022, doi:10.3390/ijerph19031515
  3. Brian W Whitcomb, Alexandra C Purdue-Smithe, Kathleen L Szegda, Maegan E Boutot, Susan E Hankinson, JoAnn E Manson, Bernard Rosner, Walter C Willett, A Heather Eliassen, Elizabeth R Bertone-Johnson, Cigarette Smoking and Threat of Early Pure Menopause, American Journal of Epidemiology, Quantity 187, Situation 4, April 2018, Pages 696–704, 

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Tricks to Strengthen Your Bones

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