Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Women's health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Premenopausal osteoporosis

What is premenopausal osteoporosis?

Premenopausal osteoporosis causes weakening of the bones in women before the menopause.

What are the signs of premenopausal osteoporosis?

Premenopausal osteoporosis can be present even though there are no signs or symptoms. How fast someone loses bone depends on her specific risk factors. One woman might be in her 40s or 50s and have very strong bones with no indication of osteoporosis. Another woman can be in her 30s and have early signs of premenopausal osteoporosis, including fractures.

Why do thinner bones lead to painful fractures?

With osteoporosis, your bones eventually become thin enough that they break or fracture from seemingly minor causes. You might, for example, trip over a crack in the pavement and fracture your ankle. Or lifting a bag of compost might cause a wrist fracture.

If the decline in bone continues over a period of 10 to 20 years, bones continue to become weaker, thinner, and easier to break. While the first fracture will usually heal, as long as the bones are thin and weak, they will be susceptible to more fractures. With more fractures, your pain will escalate. Also, deformities in your spine (called a Dowager's hump) and other areas of your body may become more obvious.

You may have more difficulty getting around and doing daily activities because of the pain and stiffness. And more fractures could eventually lead to disability, immobility and even death.

Which women are at risk of premenopausal osteoporosis?

Important risk factors for premenopausal osteoporosis include:

While you can control some risk factors, some you can't change. For example, you can't change your family history. Or you may develop cancer and need chemotherapy, even if it does raise your risk of premenopausal osteoporosis.

How can a woman reduce her risk of premenopausal osteoporosis?

All women can take control of their risk of premenopausal osteoporosis. Since there are some risk factors you can't change, you need to focus on what you can change. You can adopt a lifestyle that promotes good bone health if you take the following steps:

  • Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Consider using supplements if you can't get enough of these nutrients in food alone.
  • Get regular exercise. You'll need a combination of weight-bearing exercise and resistance training. But watch out for overtraining, which may increase the risk of osteoporosis caused by reduced oestrogen production.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Take osteoporosis medications, if needed.
Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Women's health newsletter

Health news, features and tools for your life.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

man holding back
Myths & facts about back pain
hands grabbing knee
How to keep your joints healthy
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
cute baby
Simple tips to keep baby's skin healthy
cute dog
10 common allergy triggers
Do you know what causes hair loss?
woman exercising
Exercises for low back pain
sperm and egg
Facts to help you get pregnant
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
rash on skin
Soothe skin and prevent flare-ups
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
pregnant woman eating healthy salad
Nutrition needs before pregnancy