Osteoporosis in premenopausal women

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The scope of this review was to review the newest developments in the context of the existing knowledge on premenopausal bone fragility. Fragility fractures are common in postmenopausal women and men and diagnostic criteria for osteoporosis have been agreed and multiple pharmacological treatments have been developed over the last 25 years. In premenopausal women, fragility fractures and very low bone mass are uncommon and osteoporosis in premenopausal women has therefore attracted much less interest.

Recent findings

Recent studies have highlighted that lifestyle and dietary habits affect premenopausal bone mass. Bone mass may be improved by sufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D together with increased physical activity in premenopausal women with idiopathic osteoporosis. If pharmacological treatment is needed, teriparatide has been demonstrated to efficiently increase bone mass; however, no fracture studies and no comparative studies against antiresorptive therapies have been conducted. Pregnancy affects bone turnover and mass significantly, but pregnancy-associated osteoporosis is a rare and heterogeneous condition.

Summary

The diagnosis of osteoporosis should only be considered in premenopausal women with existing fragility fractures, diseases or treatments known to cause bone loss or fractures. Secondary causes of osteoporosis should be corrected or treated if possible. The women should be recommended sufficient intake of calcium and vitamin and physical activity. In women with recurrent fractures or secondary causes that cannot be eliminated, for example glucocorticoid or cancer treatment, pharmacological intervention with bisphosphonates or teriparatide (not in the case of cancer) may be considered.

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