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Effect of early menopause on bone mineral density and fractures

Gallagher, J. Christopher MD

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e31804c793d

Objective: To review the data on the effect of early menopause on bone. Do women undergoing early menopause develop lower bone mineral density at an earlier age and do they have a higher incidence of osteoporotic fractures? Is there a difference on bone between women who undergo early natural menopause compared to women who have early menopause after oophorectomy?

Results: The earlier in life that menopause occurs, the lower the bone density will be later in life. Low bone density is associated with a higher fracture rate, and several studies show a relationship between early menopause, oophorectomy, and an increase in osteoporotic fractures.

Conclusions: Early menopause is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Women with an early menopause should have bone density testing performed within 10 years of menopause so that osteopenia or osteoporosis will be diagnosed early and appropriate antiresorptive therapy initiated.

Early menopause is associated with earlier bone loss, resulting in an increased incidence of osteoporotic fractures. There are no data to show that bone loss or fractures occur more commonly after oophorectomy than after early nonsurgical menopause.

From the Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha, NE.

Received December 12, 2006; revised and accepted February 14, 2007.

Financial disclosure: Dr. Gallagher is a consultant for Wyeth, a speaker for Organon, and receives research support from Pfizer and Wyeth.

Address correspondence: J. Christopher Gallagher, Creighton University Medical Center, Omaha, NE. E-mail:

©2007The North American Menopause Society