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Menopause and Osteoporosis: Understanding the Connection

Written by Dr. Daniela Steyn

Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman's reproductive years. During this time, the ovaries stop ovulating (producing eggs), and the levels of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones decline. One of the long-term effects of menopause is an increased risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile, weakened bones that are more susceptible to fractures.

As a Hospitalist Doctor, I treat patients with osteoporotic bone fractures daily. Strong, healthy bones are one of the best gifts you can give yourself for your old age. This blog will discuss the connection between menopause and osteoporosis and ways to prevent or manage the condition.

The Link Between Menopause and Osteoporosis

Estrogen plays a critical role in maintaining bone health. It helps to regulate the activity of bone cells, which are responsible for building and breaking down bone tissue. When estrogen levels decline during menopause, bone loss can accelerate, leading to osteoporosis. Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density in the five to seven years following menopause.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

In addition to menopause, several other factors can increase a woman's risk of developing osteoporosis. These include:

  • Age: The risk of osteoporosis increases with age.

  • Family history: Women with a family history of osteoporosis are more likely to develop the condition.

  • Body size: Women who are small-boned or have a low body mass index are at higher risk.

  • Lifestyle factors: Lack of exercise, smoking, high alcohol consumption, and a diet low in calcium and vitamin D can increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis

While menopause and a decrease in bone density are natural processes, there are steps women can take to prevent or manage osteoporosis. These include:

  • Getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D: These nutrients are essential for building and maintaining strong bones. Women should aim for 1,000-1,200 mg of calcium and 600-800 IU of Vitamin D daily. For my peri-menopausal and postmenopausal patients, I typically prescribe 2000mg of Calcium daily and 2000 IU Vitamin D daily.

  • Regular exercise: Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and weightlifting, can help to maintain bone density and strength.

  • Quitting smoking: Smoking causes increased bone loss and a higher risk of fractures.

  • Limit your alcohol consumption: High alcohol consumption can interfere with the body's ability to absorb calcium and increase the risk of falls, which increases your risk of breaking a bone.

  • Medication: In some cases, medications may be prescribed to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Your doctor would typically order a bone density scan to see if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor.

Menopause and osteoporosis are closely linked, and women should be aware of the increased risk of bone loss during this time. By taking steps to maintain bone health, such as getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D, regular weight-bearing exercise, strength training, and avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption, women can reduce their risk of osteoporosis and maintain their overall health and well-being.


1. Early or premature menopause | Office on Women's Health.

3. Natural Homeopathic Remedies for Osteoporosis - Homeopathy at

4. Steyn, D. (2023). Thrive Through Menopause.

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