Mark is a Physiotherapist currently taking the online MelioGuide Building Better Bones continuing education course. He contacted me with several questions related osteoporosis in young women. He has been treating a young woman with osteoporosis and he wanted to talk about her condition and treatment options.
Osteoporosis and Age. Osteoporosis Medications.
I would like to make a two observations regarding this client before getting into the detail.
First, we need to be aware of the skeletal health of each of our clients regardless of their age and sex. There is a stereotype established that osteoporosis is the domain of women past their 60s. That is simply not the case.
Osteoporosis and low bone density affects young people as well as men. In fact, I encourage my fellow health professionals to think about their very young clients and observe their nutrition and exercise habits.
Habits followed during the teenage years have a significant impact on the quality of bone throughout life. Start working with your clients on their skeletal health as early as possible!
Second, it is not uncommon to see women with a low bone density receive a prescription for bisphosphonates. I have written about my reservations about this trend. As well, clients are becoming aware of the potential issues associated with extended use of bisphosphonates.
I think that this client case illustrates the issues we are all starting to deal with on a more frequent basis.
Osteoporosis in Young Women
Hello Margaret, I am currently seeing a 32 yr. old female with osteoporosis (she came in for ACL strain). She reports a history of multiple “green stick fractures” as a youth. She has had bone density testing done and been prescribed biphosphonates, although she is concerned about their side effects at her age. Are you aware of any other conditions that she should be watching out for that might mimic or cause osteoporosis at an early age? Thanks for your help.
Reasons for Osteoporosis in Young Women
Here is my response to Mark’s inquiry. Most common reason for osteoporosis in young women:
- Gluten intolerance or sensitivity (poor absorption)
- Eating disorder
- Dairy intolerance
- Female athelete triad – Insufficient caloric intake for exercise output — low body fat — irregular/cessation of menstrual periods – hormone disruption
- Birth control such as depo provera
- Meds such as anti seizure, steroids, etc
- Low Vitamin D
Generally bisphosphonates are not given to women who are premenopausal — especially if she is wanting to ever have children. I would encourage her to consider all her options first.
Hope this helps.
Mark responded to me after I provided him the information that he needed for his client.
This will be reassuring for her. She is working with a naturopath for dietary change and generally feels better as a result.
I’m enjoying MelioGuide!
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