What do you think, does having more menopausal hot flashes and night sweats tell us anything about menopause transition bone loss? I always suspected that this was true, but had not seen long-term studies supporting this relationship. Now I can say that researchers have taken a serious look at this question and their answer is “yes,” just as I suspected. After eight years studying more than 2,000 women, Dr. C. Crandall and colleagues recently reported that menopausal hot flashes herald both lower bone density and a higher rate of bone breakdown.
First in 2009, they reported that premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women with hot flashes and night sweats had lower bone density than women without such symptoms. Then in 2010, using the same 2,000-plus subjects, these researchers found bone breakdown to be higher among perimenopausal and postmenopausal women experiencing hot flashes, even in the earliest menopausal transition stages.
This link between hot flashes and bone loss makes sense to me, particularly in light of the fact that we now understand the inflammatory nature of both hot flashes and osteoporosis. From a practical point of view, this reaffirms the importance of gaining and maintaining endocrine balance during the menopausal transition. At the Center for Better Bones, this begins with strengthening the adrenal glands and then moving on to a variety of natural approaches to smooth out the menopausal transition, thus reducing the incidence of menopausal symptoms. All this takes on new importance as it now appears that cooling hot flashes may well help reduce menopausal bone loss.
Crandall, C et al. 2009. Presence of vasomotor symptoms is associated with lower bone mineral density: A longitudinal analysis. Menopause, 16(2).
Crandall, C et al. 2010. Association of menopausal vessel motor symptoms increased bone turnover during the menopause transition. J. Bone Min. Res., published online September 27.