Birth Control and Your Bones

Teen bones are growing, and it's important not to disrupt that process. A significant percent of all of the bone mass is accumulating in the teen years. This is why calcium, avoiding pop (which could interfere with calcium), and getting proper exercise is important to bone health/ But the bone gets calcium by getting one of many hormonal signals that will tell it to take calcium from the blood stream. Birth control hormones are among the type of hormones that do affect bone calcium and bone turn over. The amount of calcium, the amount of Vitamin D (which helps harvest calcium from our food), and the metabolism of bone including the rate bone turns over, affects one's bone health. In order to know accurately what your bone health is it may be necessary to get an actual test of the bone thickness. The bone thickness test is done by a machine (shown here) called a bone densitometer. It's not usually done on  every young individuals, as it should be done on everyone over 65 at the latest, but could be done, and is relatively affordable if you have any question regarding your bone health. Birth control pills may lower a young girls total estrogen levels, or in some cases the total estrogen levels may be greater. For this reason it's has been known that the effects of birth control on the bone are different from person to person. A recent small, but well done study of teens on a very low dose birth control pill appears to show that those taking pills with very low dosages loose bone. Charles University of Prague Bone study presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research . Not all studies show this, for instance there is a report in Contraception (Oct 2011) that shows that in young women pills with at least 30 mcg have a positive effect on bone health, and that in comparison studies pills with only 20 mcg was insufficient in those who had not completed their skeletal maturation. Neither the ring or the patch have as  much data for your gyno to rely on when it comes to their effects on the bone, but your gyno can make some assumptions based on how their hormone dose compares to the dosage in birth control pills.. Moms and their Gynos need to remind teens that there are many ways that teens can improve their bone health through diet and exercise and that if they are on a birth control pill that has very low estrogen, or have reasons to suspect poor estrogen in their diet, and the first step is to find out if there is a problem with the diet or the health of the bones. So maybe there is a need to ge this  test of  the health of their bones. If there is a question of bone health, for instance if you have sustained a fracture or have been on hormones for a long time there is a way to minimize x-ray exposure and measure wrist bone density cost effectively.

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