Osteoporosis, fractures and death have all been linked to early menopause in a new study, but researchers say the links “remain speculative” in the research out of Sweden.
Osteoporosis in particular was cited as a “less robust” datapoint in the study, due to what researchers say were high dropout rates for bone mineral density testing later in the research. Early menopause was defined in the study as occurring before the age of 47, and the statistics discovered by researchers were pretty sobering.
Among the 390 Swedish women involved in the osteoporosis and early menopause study, those who experienced menopause before the cutoff age described as early had a mortality risk increase of 60%, a doubled risk of fracture rate, and a 70% higher risk of osteoporosis.
Lund University’s Ola Svejme co-authored the study, and wrote:
“The higher fracture risk in women with early menopause in the current study is probably to some extent mediated by a lower bone mineral density (BMD), as the early-menopause cohort had a significantly higher risk of osteoporosis at age 77 and already, at age 48 years, had on average a 0.4 standard deviation (SD) lower BMD than those with late menopause… However, the lower BMD level does not seem to be entirely able to explain the increased fracture risk.”
Researchers studying the women followed participants for 29 years, beginning in 1977. Only half of the women involved, however, participated in follow-up bone mineral density tests for osteoporosis at the end of the third decade. The osteoporosis part of the research would have been strengthened by the additional use of “strengthened by use of preplanned spinal x-rays” throughout the study, as many women who experience the injury don’t seek treatment at the time the injury occurs.