Women who experience menopausal symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats tend to have lower bone mineral density and are more likely to suffer hip fracture than those with no menopausal symptoms.
That´s according to a US study which followed thousands of women for eight years.
Researchers found that women who reported moderate to severe hot flushes at enrolment showed a significant reduction in bone density in the femoral neck region of their hips over time and were nearly twice as likely to have a hip fracture during the follow-up period.
The study – titled ‘Associations of Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms with Fracture Incidence’ – has been published in the Endocrine Society´s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Epidemiologist Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, interim dean of the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, and co-author of the study, said:
“We knew that during menopause, about 60% of women experience vasomotor symptoms (VMS), such as hot flashes and night sweats. They are among the most bothersome symptoms of menopause and can last for many years.
“It also was known that osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become structurally weak and more likely to break, afflicts 30% of all postmenopausal women in the United States and Europe, and that at least 40% of that group will sustain one or more fragility fractures in their remaining lifetime.
“What we did not know was whether VMS are associated with reductions in bone mineral density or increased fracture incidence.”
The study showed that women who experience vasomotor menopausal symptoms will lose bone density at a faster rate and nearly double their risk of hip fracture.
“Clearly more research is needed to understand the relationship between menopausal symptoms and bone health. In the meantime, women at risk of fracture may want to engage in behaviours that protect their bones including increasing their physical activity and ensuring they have adequate intakes of calcium and vitamin D,” Wactawski-Wende concluded.