As we get older, our bodies begin to reduce the amounts of hormones produced – especially estrogen and progesterone. One of the side effects of this is bone loss. This is an increasing problem for Perimenopausal women as bone degeneration occurs rapidly resulting in Osteoporosis. It is estimated that half of women over the age of 50 and a quarter of men will suffer at least one fracture as a result of osteoporosis.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes bones to weaken making them fragile and brittle. This often leads to an increased risk of fractures in the spine, hips and wrists. This can be especially worrying in older people. Osteoporosis is a progressive condition which worsens silently in the body. Often sufferers are unaware that they have the condition until they suffer from their first fracture as a result of it.
Osteoporosis literally translates to ‘porous bones’ and it is often triggered by hormonal changes and by deficiencies in calcium and/or vitamin D.
How Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Help in Treating Osteoporosis?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoporosis. However, it can be treated effectively in a number of different ways. Hormone replacement therapy is one option that many people feel gives some very positive results.
Hormone replacement therapy can replace the hormones that would normally help to protect the bone and reduce factors. There are two common types of hormone replacement therapy that can be used in the treatment of osteoporosis. The first is a estrogen only treatment which is actually more common as a preventative option or in the early stages of osteoporosis since estrogen can reduce the risk of fractures and prevent bone loss from occuring. However, because estrogen replacement also carries an increased risk of uterine cancer, this treatment is usually only offered to women who have undergone a hysterectomy. If estrogen only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not a viable option, a combination therapy which includes estrogen and progestin can be offered. This provides a similar effect but alleviates the risk to the uterus.
Hormone replacement therapy can help to improve the density of bones in high risk areas such as the spine, the hips and the arms. It is important to note that HRT will not offer long term protection against osteoporosis, the effects are only going to last as long as the treatment does.