It’s also what causes the distinctive sloped shoulder appearance frequently seen in elderly women.
About half of women and a quarter of men older than 50 will develop some sort of osteoporosis-related health issue at some point in their life, usually a fracture.
Types of Menopause
Menopause occurs when a woman’s reproductive hormones drop low enough to cause the cessation of menstruation. Usually, this occurs between the ages of 48 and 53, but some in some women it can occur as early as 45.
Menopause also can occur after a woman has a hysterectomy — or the surgical removal of her uterus and ovaries. This is a common procedure to treat endometriosis, ovarian cancer, and uterine fibroids. The absence of the estrogen-producing ovaries can trigger menopause regardless of the woman’s age.
Chemical menopause can occur after women undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment for different types of cancer. Unlike, surgical menopause, the woman’s body will sometimes start producing estrogen after the effects of chemical menopause wear off.
Osteoporosis and Menopause
Regardless of the cause of a woman’s menopause — whether it is age-related, surgical, or chemical — the cessation of the body’s production of estrogen can lead to deterioration of bone tissue, or osteoporosis.
Estrogen is essential for bone growth and strength. The hormone works with osteoblasts, the cells responsible for forming bone. Without it, bone density can decrease.
Estrogen replacement therapy for women can return estrogen to the body to prevent the loss of bone tissue and minimize the risk of developing osteoporosis. Patients receive ERT in a variety of forms, including oral tablets or topical patches that are worn on the skin.
The estrogen in the treatments is absorbed by the body, replacing the estrogen that has stopped being produced by the body naturally as a result of menopause.