No woman can hit her thirties not be suddenly told the clock is ticking, that just over the horizon is the ‘big change’ (aka menopause) and so on. As she progresses to 40 the voices reminding her get louder and more frequent, she might even start noticing some of those changes happening! As 50 gets closer, so with it is the likelihood that the time of change has arrived and with it, the long list of new health concerns, not least of all a new found worry about bone health.
We are told Menopause affects bone health, but we are rarely actually told how and why the two are connected. In short, the risk for osteoporosis accelerates during and after Menopause due to the drop in the oestrogen hormone levels.
Oestrogen is the major hormonal regulator for bone metabolism in women and men. Oestrogen deficiency is associated with an increase in bone reabsorption, thus creating a gap between reabsorption and the formation of bones at the cellular level.
It directly affects the osteocytes (a cell that lies within the substance of fully formed bone), osteoclasts (is a type of bone cell that breaks down bone tissue for bone remodelling and repair) and osteoblasts (cells that form new bone) affecting bone formation and maintenance.
This is where something like OsteoStrong becomes so important for women.
Osteogenic loading (such as the Spectrum system at OsteoStrong) deliver a self imposed high impact load to the bones, causing a response from the bone-building matrix. It stimulates the osteoblasts to assimilate calcium and other minerals required to build bone by slightly compressing the bone matrix.
The exact amount of loading required to trigger this response has only recently been known. A loading of 4.2 times one’s own body weight is required for the hip and femur.
This type of loading becomes even more critical during and post-menopause as we aim to stimulate this bone-building process enough to counteract the accelerated loss occurring due to the lack of oestrogen production.
However, for those not yet in their menopause years, it’s exciting to know that the more osteogenic loading that occurs across their lifetime, the more bone mineral density they’ll have, allowing for a stronger starting point for the bones when loss begins to increase in percentage.
Here are some facts from the Australasian Menopause Society:
- Menopause occurs when you’ve not had a menstrual period for 12 months.
- The average age of Menopause is 51.
- Most women will have some symptoms.
- Most women will have symptoms for 5-10 years
- It can also affect women who have had surgery to move ovaries and/or womb, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy to the pelvis
- It’s caused when the body stops producing oestrogen.
- Most women will have symptoms before their periods stop
If you have any queries about bone health, Menopause etc., please chat with your primary health care provider. Your OsteoStrong coach may be able to offer guidance also.