A few weeks ago I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Jerilynn Prior, a renowned endocrinologist and bone health expert. Dr. Prior, professor at the University of British Columbia, is a noted physician, author, researcher, and one of the foremost scholars on bone and menstrual health. Here are a few of her many interesting observations and research findings.
- Hip bone loss begins earlier than we had expected, in both men and women. Large population-based Canadian studies in which she participated show that bone loss in the hip begins in the early 20’s for both women and men, while bone loss in the spine doesn’t begin until the mid 30’s.
- Ovulatory disturbances — meaning that there was less progesterone produced than normal — commonly occur but go unrecognized because they are silent within regular menstrual cycles.
- Women are silently losing bone if they experience more than the average proportion of ovulatory disturbances, despite normal estrogen levels and regular menstruation.
- Women who learn to track their cycles and ovulation seem more likely to recover normal cycles and ovulation and even recover from infertility.
- Of all the stressors that can affect bone health — poor nutrition, environmental challenges, and emotional disturbances — emotional stress is “the big driver” of ovulatory disturbances and bone loss. So feeling good about your life and the choices you’ve made is important for healthy bones.
Stay tuned, more complete selections from my interview with Dr. Prior will be posted on the Better Bones website soon! To assess your bone health, take our fracture risk assessment.