Menopause is a process every woman goes through during life, and once you do, your body undergoes a series of changes. Most commonly, you start going through perimenopause in your 40s and after a year without having a period, you enter menopause.
During menopause, many processes slow down or stop, including your menstrual cycle. It also means changes for many parts of your body not directly related to your reproductive cycle, including your bones. Find out how menopause affects your body, what your bones are like after menopause, and what you can do to keep them healthy.
If you live in the Las Vegas, Nevada area and you’re looking for ways to manage menopause, Dr. Staci McHale’s award-winning practice, New Beginnings OB-GYN, can help you as you transition through menopause.
How menopause affects your body
While perimenopause often starts in your 40s, your body produces fewer reproductive hormones as early as your 30s. As the amount of estrogen and progesterone declines through the stages of menopause, your periods change.
Shorter, heavier, lighter, or more or less frequent menstrual cycles are common until you reach the point where your ovaries stop producing hormones altogether (around 51, on average).
During menopause, there are many symptoms of the change. These can include hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleeping problems, dryer skin, thinning hair, mood changes, and loss of breast fullness. Weight changes may also happen as your metabolism slows down.
Your bones after menopause
Bones are living tissue that naturally grow and rebuild themselves. Once you’re in your 30s, they don’t rebuild as quickly. One of the functions of estrogen in your body is to help keep bones strong, and as it reduces, your bones become more porous. Over time, this can cause you to develop osteoporosis where your bones become brittle and prone to fractures and breaks.
Ways to keep bones healthy
During menopause, it is a good idea to check your bone density to identify any changes and arrange treatment early. A bone density screening is helpful to establish a baseline, but there are several ways to maintain bone health after menopause:
Weight-bearing exercises are key to maintaining bone health, as it helps to maintain balance, improve muscle strength, and slow down bone density loss. Anything that allows you to work against gravity, such as walking, dancing, and jogging, can help promote bone health.
Hormone replacement therapy is a first-line treatment to help improve bone loss and relieve many symptoms of menopause itself. But other medications can be used, including bisphosphonates and injectable anabolic agents.
Bone density changes during and after menopause, but we can help you maintain bone health. Make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today to get help if you’re dealing with osteoporosis or other problems with bone density due to menopause.