Osteoporosis and osteopenia are conditions that affect the bone structure due to low bone mass or density. This leads to brittle bones and a higher risk of breaking or fracturing the bones.
Osteoporosis can be diagnosed when the bone mineral density measurement falls below a certain level in a person. If bone mass is lower than average, but not as low as with osteoporosis, the person in consideration may be suffering from osteopenia. Osteopenia may lead to a fracture, but its chances are not as high as they are for osteoporosis. Untreated osteopenia can worsen to osteoporosis.
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Osteoporosis-related fractures occur mostly at the hip, spine, and wrist. Spine fractures in particular can happen without much or any trauma. Hip fractures in people pose as a serious complication of osteoporosis as this often requires surgery.
Let's discuss the connection between fertility and osteoporosis.
Bone mass density starts decreasing at an earlier age in women compared to men. For men, the age when testosterone levels reduce may be 55 to 60 yrs. But in women osteopenia aches and pains starts as early as thirty because of less sun exposure, malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, calcium deficiency during pregnancy and post pregnancy, multiple child births and reduced weight bearing exercises compared to men. The risk of osteoporosis is more for women who have a risk of early menopause due to genetic or other reasons.
Early menopause is before 40 yrs and decline in fertility starts 5 to 6 years before that. Women who have a family history of early menopause also have decline in fertility in their early 30s. Menstrual cycles and exposure to estrogen hormone is necessary for bone formation therefore for strong bones.
So women with low AMH or low egg reserve early in life are at a risk of osteoporosis. Also, osteopenia, which is weakness of bones due to low levels of vitamin D which leads to low levels of calcium, may hamper fertility by influencing the egg quality. Optimum levels of vitamin D is very much necessary for good egg quality and it influences fertility. Osteopenia can cause severe pain in bones and joints during pregnancy, childbirth and after that.
Apart from calcium 1g and vitamin D 800iusupplementation, a regimented patterned exercise schedule that includes weight-training should be followed. Vitamin D deficiency is treated by higher doses for 6 months
Medications can be prescribed to treat osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures. Bisphosphonates are known to lower the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures in women post menopause. Hormone therapy too is shown to have reduced fracture risk and is effective in preventing osteopenia from converting to osteoporosis. The best advice is to follow and consume a healthy calcium and vitamin D rich diet and supplements and regular exercises.
And get in touch with your healthcare provider if you come across any osteoporosis like occurrence.