Awhile back I told you about early research connecting menopausal hot flashes to lower bone density and a higher rate of bone breakdown. These findings from Dr. Carolyn Crandall, MD made a lot of sense to me, especially given the inflammatory nature of both hot flashes and osteoporosis.
Now, the evidence of the connection between hot flashes/night sweats and bone health just got even more powerful, with new research from Dr. Crandall. In one of the first studies looking at how hot flashes and night sweats are related to fracture incidence, she found women who experience “moderate to severe” menopausal hot flashes or night sweats have almost double the risk of hip fracture in later life. The study was also a large one, including data from more than 23,000 women ages 50 to 79.
I believe this study adds to the urgency of taking care of your bones during menopause. We know that hormonal changes during menopause disrupt your body’s natural bone-building process. Your body may have less estrogen, which is needed to help preserve calcium in the body and prevent bone breakdown. The low progesterone levels common in perimenopause may also affect bone-building cells, disrupting the natural process of bone breakdown and repair.
Remember, most women lose about 10% of their bone in the 10 years around menopause, with the most loss taking place a year before menopause and the two years after that count most. Hot flashes and night sweats, weight gain, fuzzy thinking and fatigue are all clues that your hormones have started to shift, even years before your periods actually stop.
To help you put everything together, my Better Bones: Menopause Program gives you support your for bone health and relieve hormonal fluctuations that lead to menopause symptoms. You can try it now or read more in my article Bone loss in menopause.
Carolyn J. Crandall, Aaron Aragaki, Jane A. Cauley, JoAnn E. Manson, Erin LeBlanc, Robert Wallace, Jean Wactawski-Wende, Andrea LaCroix, Mary Jo O’Sullivan, Mara Vitolins and Nelson B. Watts. Associations of Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms with Fracture Incidence. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, December 2014
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.