Hormone treatment restores bone density for young women with menopause-like condition

June 10, 2014 by Katie Rush
Hormone treatment restores bone density for young women with menopause-like condition
Researchers at the NIH examined scans of the hip and lower spine to determine the effects of hormone treatment on bone mineral density of women with primary ovarian insufficiency.

Researchers have found that hormone replacement therapy in young women with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) led to increases in their bone mineral density, restoring levels to normal. The study was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The findings provide important treatment information for women with POI and their physicians.

Spontaneous POI, which affects 1 in 100 women by age 40, occurs when the ovaries stop producing sufficient estrogen in the absence of a known cause, such as anorexia, chromosome abnormality, or chemotherapy. It is typically characterized by irregular or absent menstrual cycles, hot flashes, and fertility problems. Women with POI have abnormally low levels of reproductive hormones, including estradiol, a type of estrogen produced by the ovary, as well as testosterone, a predominantly male hormone, but also produced by women in smaller amounts. They also have reduced , which can lead to osteoporosis and

"Bone mineral density is an important measure of . This study showed that not only could hormone treatment reduce the rate at which women with POI lose bone mineral density, but it could actually restore to normal levels," said Dr. Lawrence M. Nelson, study author and investigator in the Program on Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology at NICHD.

The findings were published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Using bone density scans of the hip and lower spine, researchers measured the effects of two hormone replacement regimens on the bone mineral density of women with POI who were between the ages of 18 and 42. One hundred and forty-five women with POI were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one group received a 100 mcg estradiol patch, progestin pills, and a 150 mcg testosterone patch, and the other group received a 100 mcg estradiol patch, progestin pills, and a placebo patch. For comparison, the scientists also measured bone mineral density in an untreated group of 70 women with normal ovarian function.

Both hormone treatment regimens led to significant increases in the bone mineral density in the treatment groups. When the study began, women with POI had significantly lower hip and spine bone mineral density levels compared to the control group. By the study's end, both bone density measures had increased to the same levels as the women without the condition.

However, the addition of testosterone in the treatment regimen did not prove to be statistically significant in helping increase density. Further studies with a greater number of women would be needed to produce statistically valid results as to whether testosterone replacement could benefit women with POI, Dr. Nelson said.

"While 's effect on bone has been studied in postmenopausal women, there is limited research on the effects of this therapy in younger women," said lead author Dr. Vaishali B. Popat, an endocrinologist who helped conduct this study at NIH. "This study provides important evidence that hormone replacement therapy with an appropriate dose of estradiol delivered via a skin patch combined with oral progestin can improve bone density to normal in with ."

Explore further: Romosozumab increases bone mineral density post-menopause

Related Stories

Romosozumab increases bone mineral density post-menopause

January 6, 2014

(HealthDay)—Romosozumab seems safe and effective for increasing bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density, according to a study published online Jan. 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Recommended for you

Re-emergence of syphilis traced to pandemic strain cluster

December 5, 2016

Over the last few decades, an age-old infectious disease has been re-emerging globally: syphilis. Using techniques to analyze low levels of DNA, an international research team headed by the University of Zurich has now shown ...

New mechanism to control human viral infections discovered

December 5, 2016

A team of researchers, co-led by a University of California, Riverside professor, has found a long-sought-after mechanism in human cells that creates immunity to influenza A virus, which causes annual seasonal epidemics and ...

Researcher making headway in fighting migraines

December 5, 2016

A study by a UT Dallas researcher has revealed new information about a potential chemical causing pain hypersensitivity in migraines, which is the third most common disease in the world.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.