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How HRT Can Boost Bone Health

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

While many of the symptoms associated with menopause are well known, did you know it can also lead to a decline in bone health, putting women at risk of osteoporosis and fractures? Here I explore how HRT can help.

What is HRT?

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) is given either as patches or tablets to replace the hormones our bodies stop producing during menopause. The most common hormones used are oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen is essential for bone health because it helps maintain density by slowing down the breakdown of tissue. Progesterone, on the other hand, is used in combination with oestrogen to prevent the overgrowth of the uterine lining.

Why is HRT good for bone health during menopause?

During menopause, our body's production of oestrogen declines which leads to a loss of bone density. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, women can lose up to 20% in the first five to seven years after menopause, putting them at risk of osteoporosis and making them more susceptible to fractures.

HRT helps slow down this breakdown of tissue, with studies showing it can actually reduce the risk of fractures in menopausal women by up to 35%. In fact, a report published in 2017 in the journal Maturitas found that HRT can increase bone mineral density in the spine and hip in particularly, two areas that are commonly affected by osteoporosis. Great news then.

It's true that HRT is not suitable for everyone, and it comes with risks and side effects so it’s important to discuss your specific needs and health issues with your GP. If it’s not for you (if you’ve had breast cancer or are at high risk of developing it, for example) ensuring you are eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise will prove beneficial too.

Foods for bone health during menopause:

Calcium and Vitamin D are essential nutrients for bone health. Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones, while Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. Good dietary sources of calcium include dairy products and leafy green vegetables and to up your vitamin D tuck into fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, as well as egg yolks and fortified foods, like milk and cereal.

Soy products, such as tofu and soy milk, are also worth adding to your diet because they contain isoflavones. Recent meta-analysis of ten randomised controlled trials found that soy isoflavone supplementation may improve bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.

In addition to the above, other nutrients to look out for include magnesium (nuts, seeds, and whole grains), potassium (found in fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and sweet potatoes) and vitamin K (leafy green vegetables).

Exercise for Bone Health during Menopause:

Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and jogging, stimulates the bones to produce new tissue, while resistance training increases bone density. Yoga and Pilates can also prove beneficial because they improve your balance and flexibility, and reduce the risk of falls.


You can read about Julia's experiences with TRT (Testosterone Replacement) in her blog post here.


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