You may have heard all your life that the way to have strong bones is to get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D. However, supporting your bone health goes beyond just drinking milk. Your hormones play a key role in supporting strong, healthy bones. Osteoporosis can be linked to hormonal imbalances – like an estrogen deficiency, thyroid issues, excess cortisol production, and low testosterone in men. Here’s how osteoporosis and hormones are connected.
Are you concerned about how your hormones could be impacting your bone health? Join our free webinar to learn how we treat the cause of your condition.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become fragile and brittle. The problem is bone loss, but it happens at the smallest level. Growing bones and losing bone mass through osteoporosis are two entirely different processes. During your childhood and through puberty, your bones add external size, but their inner structure remains the same.
However, osteoporosis causes bone loss in the microarchitecture of your bones. This process causes your bones to weaken and thin from the inside. Then, because they have become so porous and fragile, your bones can break or shatter extremely easily.
Certainly, bone health relies on getting enough calcium and vitamin D. However, even if you get enough of those nutrients, you can still get osteoporosis. The cause is very often related to your hormones. Osteoporosis and hormones do go together in many ways.
What Specific Hormonal Imbalances Impact Bone Health?
Hormonal imbalances always affect your overall health. However, imbalances in certain hormones are especially harmful to your bone health. Here are the top hormones that you need to have in balance to keep your bones strong as you get older.
1. Estrogen Deficiency
Your body needs estrogen for bone metabolism, which is the process by which the body breaks down old bone material and replaces it with new bone cells. When you don’t have enough estrogen, this process can’t continue at the optimal level. Therefore, your bone cells aren’t replenished, so your bones become porous when old bone cells die.
Unfortunately, women’s estrogen levels sometimes decrease. It typically happens as women get older, when they go through perimenopause and menopause.
Yet, it can happen at other times, too. When a younger woman has surgery to remove her ovaries or a total hysterectomy, she will go through menopause. Then, osteoporosis becomes a threat.
Likewise, a hormonal imbalance can cause a woman to stop having menstrual periods, at which time she may be at risk for osteoporosis. Your estrogen can also decrease at any age if you put yourself through a too-extreme physical workout program.
2. Excess Cortisol Production
Cortisol is a natural steroid made in your body. This chemical messenger is called the body’s stress hormone. When it is in balance, cortisol helps regulate your metabolism, enhances your memory, decreases inflammation, and even helps control your blood sugar levels. However, when your adrenal glands secrete too much cortisol, it can cause a wide range of unfortunate effects, including decreasing your bone density. In fact, even small increases in cortisol production might contribute to osteoporosis.
3. Low Testosterone
Many people don’t realize that men can also have osteoporosis. However, according to the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation, about 2 million men in America have osteoporosis, and another 12 million more have the risk factors that make them likely to get it. In men, low testosterone is a prevalent cause of osteoporosis.
4. Thyroid Issues
Your thyroid hormones are essential to maintaining good bone health. When your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can have a detrimental effect on your bone mass. For example, if your thyroid is secreting too much hormone, the turnover of old to new bone cells happens too fast, causing the process to work incorrectly. Thus, your bone mass decreases and you are more likely to have bone fractures. Women are more likely to have thyroid diseases, but men can also have them.
5. Parathyroid Issues
Your parathyroid glands are hidden behind your thyroid, but they play several important roles. One is to control the amount of calcium in your bones. Thus, when your parathyroid glands are not producing the right amounts of hormones, you don’t get enough calcium to your bones, and they become weaker and porous.
Getting to the Root of Your Osteoporosis
Functional medicine provides prevention and treatment for osteoporosis by looking at the root causes of the condition. Therefore, if you come to Tri-Cities Functional Medicine with concerns or a diagnosis of osteoporosis, we start by searching for causes, such as hormonal imbalances.
This process involves taking your history to look for past medical problems and your family history to find possible genetic issues. It also includes discussing your current concerns and taking lab tests to discover your hormone levels and other factors that could contribute to bone loss. We look at your lifestyle, too, to determine if changes would improve your body’s ability to maintain good bone health.
Treatment for Osteoporosis and Overall Health
After assessing your health, we create a customized treatment plan to address your specific needs, including correcting hormone excesses and deficiencies.
Treatment plans can include any interventions that are known to improve bone metabolism and increase bone density. Some of these include:
- A specialized diet that includes calcium, Vitamin D, the right amount and quality of protein, and avoiding extreme dieting.
- A sensible exercise program to decrease bone loss and strengthen you so that you avoid falls.
- Cutting down alcohol consumption or quitting alcohol altogether.
- Stopping smoking or other unhealthy habits.
- Taking supplements that correct deficiencies to enhance bone health.
- Learning stress reduction techniques, which help regulate cortisol levels.
At Tri-Cities, we also have health coaches to help you understand aspects of your treatment plan, such as diet and exercise. You can join our wellness classes online or at our clinic and learn more through our vast source of educational resources. By following our programs as we customize them for you, you can decrease your chances of getting osteoporosis in the future. Yet, even if you already have signs of bone loss, your program can help your bone health improve. The keys to success are to seek help, then follow your plan, talk to your functional medicine doctor whenever you have concerns, and make adjustments as recommended.
Help for Osteoporosis in Tennessee
Whether you have signs of osteoporosis, a diagnosis, or risk factors, you can receive osteoporosis treatment in Johnson City, Tennessee, and surrounding areas. At Tri-Cities Functional Medicine, we go beyond your symptoms to find the root causes of your condition. Through careful evaluation and planning, we help you prevent or recover from bone health problems.
Our clinic is headed by Medical Director Joseph Radawi, a trained and board-certified physician and a leading specialist in functional medicine. Our team of functional medicine professionals works together with you to improve your overall health, treating you as a whole person rather than a set of symptoms.
We make it easy to start your journey towards optimal physical and mental health. Along the way, we discover the causes behind your problems, even those which you might not suspect at all. With Dr.
Radawi’s extensive experience and understanding of osteoporosis and hormones, you can receive the help you need. Then, your bone health concerns can fade as you reach for a more satisfying and healthy life.
Do you want to know if hormonal imbalances could be putting your bones at risk? Take the first step:
- Watch our free webinar to learn about our approach to the health concerns you are facing.
- Schedule a Free Discovery Call to discuss your health concerns and goals to see if our practice is a good fit for you.
- After your discovery call – if we are a good fit, you’ll schedule a consultation with our doctor to dive deeper and formulate an individualized treatment plan for you.
Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and North Carolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA.