• Español

Osteoporosis Risk in Younger Women

Topic Overview

During childhood and teen years, new bone grows faster than existing bone is absorbed by the body. After age 30, this process begins to reverse. As a natural part of aging, bone dissolves and is absorbed faster than new bone is made, and bones become thinner. You are more likely to have osteoporosis if you did not reach your ideal bone thickness (bone density) during your childhood and teenage years.

In women, bone loss increases around menopause, when ovaries produce less estrogen, a hormone that protects against bone loss. Younger women, especially in their 30s and 40s, are at lower risk for osteoporosis than older women. But your risk increases if you:

  • Have already gone through menopause. Most women go through menopause starting in their 50s, but some women go through this change earlier.
  • Smoke.
  • Do not get regular weight-bearing exercise.
  • Do not get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
  • Take corticosteroids or other medicines that may thin your bones.
  • Have more than about 1 alcoholic drink a day.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised November 6, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.


The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.

Related Information