According to a recent study, doctors will be able to tell if menopause-related bone loss is already happening or about to start by testing the level of anti-Mullerian hormone, which drops as women approach their final menstrual cycle.
The study’s findings were published in the journal “Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.” These discoveries could help doctors figure out when and how to manage bone loss in women as they become older, before it causes serious health problems.
The study discovered that levels of the anti-Mullerian hormone, or AMH, can be used to detect if women aged 42 and older who are not yet postmenopausal are experiencing or about to undergo bone loss related to their transition into menopause.
Dr. Arun Karlamangla, a professor of medicine in the division of geriatrics at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, stated, “To be able to intervene and lessen the rate and amount of bone loss, we need to know if this loss is imminent or already underway.”
“We don’t know when a woman’s last menstrual period will be until it really happens,” he noted, “so we can’t determine when it’s time to do something about bone loss.”
According to him, bone loss usually occurs approximately a year before a woman’s last menstrual cycle.
During the menopause transition, a three-year period that spans the last menstrual period and is marked by additional symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, and mood and sleep disturbances, women lose significant bone mass. As a woman’s final menstrual period approaches, her AMH levels decrease.
The researchers looked at data from SWAN, or the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, a multisite, multi-ethnic study that looked at the changes women go through as they approach menopause.
They discovered that within two to three years following a physician’s forecast, 17% of premenopausal women aged 42 or older will have lost a significant fraction of their peak bone mass.