- Question from Website Question: Is there more risk for bone loss with an early medically imposed menopause than if menopause had occurred naturally?
Mindy Goldman, M.D.
We know that women reach their peak bone density at age 30-35, and then there's a gradual decline until menopause, when women tend to lose as much as two to three percent of bone per year. If someone goes into an earlier menopause, they may not have reached their maximum bone density or have more years of bone loss. So it is important if you are in menopause that your bone density be followed.
If you're on tamoxifen, it actually increases bone density, so that it's less of a concern. If you're on an aromatase inhibitor, however, these drugs can cause decreases in bone density, so it's important to make sure your doctor is following your bone density tests on a regular basis. In general, bone density tests should be done at an interval of 1.5-2 years apart.
For many women who are on aromatase inhibitors, if their bone density tests have shown evidence of mild loss or osteopenia or certainly osteoporosis, their doctors will frequently have them on one of the drugs called bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax or Actonel.
One of the ways to help prevent bone loss is adequate calcium and weight-bearing exercise. If you are menopausal, the daily requirements for calcium are 1500mg per day. It's hard to absorb this all in one sitting, so I recommend divided doses two to three times per day. In addition to calcium, the recommendation to prevent bone loss is weight-bearing exercise such as walking on a regular basis 30 minutes per day, three times per week.
On Wednesday, July 21, 2004, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Menopausal Symptoms. Mindy Goldman, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about how to manage menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and more.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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