Skip to content

    Osteoporosis Health Center

    Select An Article

    What Is Osteoporosis? What You Need to Know

    Font Size

    How Is Osteoporosis Related to Menopause?

    At menopause, there's a dramatic decline in the female hormone estrogen. This decline slows the bone remodeling process and causes an accelerated rate of bone loss. This more rapid loss of bone continues for about 10 years after menopause. The rate of bone loss eventually returns to premenopausal levels. But bone formation does not. This causes postmenopausal women to have a much greater chance of having a fracture.

    In addition, having an early menopause (before age 40) also increases the chance of osteoporosis and fractures. Having prolonged periods of time when hormone levels are low and/or absent, such as can happen with excess exercise, causes loss of bone mass and osteoporosis.

    How Do I Know if I Have Osteoporosis?

    First, check your risk factors. Then, ask your health care provider about a bone mineral density (BMD) test. A bone mineral density test can provide information about your bone health before problems begin. Bone mineral density tests use very small amounts of radiation to determine the strength of your bones.

    For in depth information, see WebMD's Osteoporosis Self-Test: Check Your Risk.

    How Is Osteoporosis Treated?

    Many osteoporosis treatments are successful in stopping bone loss and reducing your risks of fractures. Some osteoporosis treatments include dietary and lifestyle choices. Other treatments include osteoporosis medications. These drugs can slow bone loss or build new bone. Osteoporosis treatments include:

    • Weight-bearing exercises (which force your muscles to work against gravity)
    • Smoking cessation
    • Osteoporosis medications, such as Actonel, Boniva, Calcimar, Evista, Binosto, Fosamax, Reclast, Fortical, and Miacalcin
    • Injectable Forteo or PTH to rebuild bone in women at high risk for fracture
    • Injectable Prolia for women at high risk for fracture

    Newer medications are being developed.

    How Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?

    There are several proven ways that may help prevent osteoporosis and fractures.

    Exercise. Establish a regular exercise program. Exercise makes bones and muscles stronger and helps prevent bone loss. It also helps you stay active and mobile. Weight-bearing exercises are best for preventing osteoporosis. They should be done at least three to four times a week.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Women working out and walking with weights
    Reduce bone loss and build stronger muscles.
    Chinese cabbage
    Calcium-rich foods to add to your diet.
    woman stretching
    Get the facts on osteoporosis.
    Porous bone
    Causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment.
    senior woman
    Woman holding plate of brocolli
    wrist xray
    Superfood for Bones
    mature woman
    sunlight in hands
    man and woman in front of xray
    woman with dumbbells