'Bone' up on hormones
save your skeleton
Estrogen therapy is one of the leading treatments for osteoporosis, so
obviously hormones can affect your bones. However, estrogen isn't the only
hormone you need to know about. your thyroid and parathyroid glands also produce
hormones that may affect the health of your bones.
Your thyroid is located in your neck and helps to regulate your metabolism.
Sometimes this gland produces too much thyroid hormone ( hyperthyroidism ) or too
little hormone ( hypothyroidism ). If you've taken drugs to correct these
problems, your bones could be suffering the consequences.
Although there is conflicting evidence, some research finds that
thyroid-suppressing drugs may contribute to lower bones density. A few other
studies suggest that taking additional thyroid hormones may be harmful. If
you've taken thyroid-suppressing drugs or thyroid hormones, you should have a
bones scan done regularly.
On the other hand, you parathyroid glands may be the key to better bones in
later life. These small glands near your thyroid produce parathyroid hormone (PTH),
which regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism.
In a recent study, two-thirds of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis who
took parathyroid hormone in addition to their estrogen therapy regained full,
healthy bone mass. The women in the study who continued their estrogen therapy
without adding parathyroid hormone only experienced a small 1.5 percent gain in
If all goes well, parathyroid hormone may soon be available as an
osteoporosis treatment. Check with your doctor.