Women's Healthcare Group -  - Obstetrics

Women's Healthcare Group

Obstetrics & Gynecology located in York, PA

Weak, brittle bones can lead to sudden fractures and breaks throughout your body. To help prevent and treat the symptoms of osteoporosis, the highly experienced OB/GYNs at Women’s Healthcare Group in York, Pennsylvania, evaluate your bone health and start you on the right treatment plan. If you have osteoporosis, a family history of osteoporosis, or are going through menopause, schedule an exam today. Click on the online scheduler or call the office directly.

Osteoporosis Q & A

What is Osteoporosis?

Often called a “silent disease” that primarily affects women, osteoporosis is a condition in which bones deteriorate or become so weak and brittle that they break. This bone disease increases your risk of bone fractures or breaks, and many patients don’t even realize they have osteoporosis until they suffer from an accident.

Some of the most common areas osteoporosis effects are around the hips, spine, and wrists. The condition typically affects women five times more often than men, especially those transitioning through menopause.

What are Some Risk Factors for Osteoporosis?

There are several diseases, lifestyle choices, and health conditions that put you at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis. Your chances of having osteoporosis are greater because of any of the following risk factors.

  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Certain cancers
  • Low calcium intake
  • Vitamin D insufficiency
  • High salt intake
  • High caffeine intake
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Low body weight
  • Three or more alcoholic beverages per day
  • High aluminum intakes (often from antacids)

Long-term use of corticosteroid medications, like prednisone and cortisone, are also linked to osteoporosis.

Why Does Menopause Increase My Risk of Osteoporosis?

Your ovaries produce estrogen, which protects you from bone loss. During perimenopause, your body produces lower and lower levels of estrogen. After menopause, your ovaries produce very little estrogen, which triggers a period of dramatic bone loss.

You can experience rapid bone loss about one year before your final menstrual period, then ongoing bone loss for the next three years. Plus, the natural effects of getting older and wear-and-tear on your bones further increase your risk of osteoporosis as you get older.

What are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Sadly, most patients have no idea they’re suffering from osteoporosis until they fracture or break a bone after an accident. However, some of the most common warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Bone pain
  • Loss of height
  • Backaches
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Sudden fracture or bone break

One of the most obvious signs of osteoporosis is a fracture or bone break that seemingly has no cause. If you are suddenly experiencing severe bone pain, despite suffering no injuries, it’s important to see a doctor right away.

How is Osteoporosis Diagnosed?

At Women’s Healthcare Group, you have access to some of the most advanced osteoporosis diagnostic testing available. Your OB/GYN may recommend a bone mineral density (BMD) test.

One of the most common and most accurate bone mineral density tests is the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry of your hip and spine. This simple evaluation uses ionizing radiation to produce pictures of your bones in an effort to evaluate bone loss.

The caring OB/GYN team at Women’s Healthcare Group usually recommend that all women aged 65 and over have a BMD test. You might also need this osteoporosis diagnostic test if you’re younger than 65, have been through menopause, and have other risk factors.

How is Osteoporosis Treated?

Osteoporosis currently has no cure, but there are plenty of steps you can take at home to keep your bone density strong and prevent further damage. Because osteoporosis has been linked to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, there are several changes you can make in your life to strengthen your bones, including:

  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consuming more protein
  • Increasing calcium intake
  • Avoiding tobacco and alcohol

Should your osteoporosis be more advanced, your physician can recommend a number of medications to slow down the progression of the disease, including:

  • Zoledronic acid (Reclast)
  • Risedronate (Actonel)
  • Ibandronate (Boniva)
  • Alendronate (Fosamax)
  • Prolia

If you developed osteoporosis during menopause, your doctor may suggest trying hormone therapy to increase your estrogen levels.

For more information on osteoporosis and your treatment options, call Women’s Healthcare Group or book an appointment online today.