Osteoporosis is a condition characterised by reduction in bone mineral density and bone fragility, making them more susceptible to fractures. This condition occurs when the formation of new bone tissue cannot keep up with the removal of old tissue. Although osteoporosis can affect people of all ages, menopausal women are particularly at risk due to hormonal changes affecting bone density.

What is osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, sometimes referred to as “bone porosis“, is characterised by bones becoming so porous and weak that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending or coughing can cause a fracture. Osteoporotic bone loses density and mass, becoming brittle and increasing the risk of fractures. Among the most common fractures associated with osteoporosis are those involving the spine, femoral neck and wrist, but they can also occur in other parts of the body.

The causes of osteoporosis can be many, including genetic factors, nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and certain medications. Other medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, may also contribute to the development of osteoporosis.

Types of osteoporosis

There are various types of osteoporosis, including: primary osteoporosis, secondary osteoporosis, osteopenia.

Primary osteoporosis is divided into:

  • Post-menopausal osteoporosis: is the most common form of primary osteoporosis and is associated with the decrease in oestrogen in women after menopause. Oestrogen deficiency accelerates the rate of bone resorption, contributing to bone density loss.
  • Senile osteoporosis: this form of osteoporosis is related to the natural ageing of the body. With advancing age, the bone remodelling process becomes less efficient, leading to a progressive loss of bone density.

Secondary osteoporosis is caused by other medical conditions or the use of certain medicines. Conditions that may contribute to secondary osteoporosis include hyperthyroidism, male hypogonadism, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic diseases. Certain medicines, such as long-term corticosteroids and some anti-epileptic medicines, may also increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Osteopenia is a condition characterised by a decrease in bone mineral density that is less severe than osteoporosis but still represents an increased risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering fractures.

Osteoporosis in the menopause

During the menopause, the decline in oestrogen is one of the main factors contributing to the acceleration of bone mass loss in women. Oestrogens play an important role in regulating the bone remodelling process by promoting positive calcium balance in bone and inhibiting bone resorption.

When a woman enters the menopause and oestrogen production decreases significantly, this balance is disturbed and the rate of bone resorption exceeds the rate of bone formation, leading to a net loss of bone density. This decrease in bone density increases the risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering osteoporotic fractures.

Since many women start the menopause around the age of 50, it is crucial to take preventive measures and possibly start treatment early to counteract bone loss. These preventive measures may include a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise (especially endurance activity and weight lifting), avoidance of cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and the possible use of hormone replacement therapy or other prescribed medicines to maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

In addition, regular monitoring of bone density through bone densitometry tests may be useful to assess individual risk of osteoporosis and guide preventive and therapeutic intervention. Paying attention to bone health during the transition through the menopause is crucial to maintaining a good quality of life and reducing the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Osteoporosis symptoms

The symptoms of osteoporosis can be subtle, as the disease progresses without obvious signs until the first fracture. However, some initial symptoms may include:

  • a lowering of the height over time;
  • a curved posture;
  • bone and muscle pain.

How to treat osteoporosis

The treatment of osteoporosis aims to slow down or stop the loss of bone mass, increase bone density and prevent fractures. One of the most common therapies involves the use of specific medicines that help slow or stop bone loss and increase bone density. Among these medicines are biphosphonates, which act by inhibiting bone resorption, and hormone replacement therapy, which can be useful in menopausal women to compensate for oestrogen deficiency.

Besides medication, it is important to take care of your bone health through lifestyle changes. A crucial aspect is to make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D, both through diet and, if necessary, supplements. Products such as Afragil represent a useful innovative solution in the management of osteoporosis, offering additional options for those seeking to treat this condition effectively.

Avoiding cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is equally important, as both can negatively affect bone health. In addition, regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining bone strength and health. Resistance and weight-bearing exercises, such as weightlifting, can be particularly useful as well as maintaining a healthy body weight, since body weight affects the mechanical load that the bones have to bear.

Gynaecological supplements useful in the management of osteoporosis

Afragil is a nutritional supplement designed to promote gynaecological health, particularly useful in counteracting oxidative stress and alleviating menopausal symptoms. Its unique formulation includes a harmonised combination of ingredients that aim to support women’s bone and general health.

Key ingredients in Afragil include calcium and vitamin D3, which are essential for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis. Vitamin C1 is an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress. Glycopene from Solanum lycopersicum and astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis are powerful antioxidants that can help protect cells from free radical damage2. Finally, bioflavonoids from Citrus Sinensis are known for their beneficial effects on cardiovascular health and reduction of inflammation.

Afragil is available in convenient chewable tablets and it is recommended that one be taken daily. Thanks to its comprehensive formulation and simple mode of intake, it can be a valuable addition to the daily routine for women wishing to improve and preserve their gynaecological health during the menopause and beyond.

Preventive strategies

Preventing osteoporosis is important and starts with understanding the risk factors, such as genetics, lifestyle, and pre-existing medical conditions. Reducing exposure to oxidative stress and adopting a balanced diet are important steps towards prevention.

Conclusion

Osteoporosis in the menopause requires careful and preventive management to reduce the risk of fractures and maintain a high quality of life. Understanding the symptoms, types and available treatment options is crucial for women facing this phase of their lives. With the right combination of treatments, lifestyle modifications and medical support, it is possible to live well despite osteoporosis.


References

1.        Claims EFSA come definita dal Regolamento UE 1924/2006.

2.        Claims per preparati ed estratti vegetali (botanicals) come disciplinato dal decreto ministeriale 10 agosto 2018 (BELFRIT) allegato 1.