Birth control pills for osteoporosis

I have osteoporosis at 35 years old. My obgyn insists that I take a low dose birth control pill. How effective is this? Does anyone else have experience?

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If you are post-menopausal? Low dose will not be as effective as standard HRT. Pre-menopausal BCP's can help but if you have normal MP's and normal levels of reproductive hormones, then there is little reason to suspect altering them with BCPs can explain your extremely low bone density of -3.4 in the spine.

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dxaguru - I have heard that there is some evidence to suggest that low does BCPs could lower estrogen levels in premenopausal women below what they would be without taking any BCPs. Have you seen any research about this? I believe this info was preliminary and that more research was needed - but a theory worth looking into. I'm not sure there is anything definitive available at this time but it's something to discuss with a knowledgeable physician who knows your whole health history and can review the data on this topic. What are your thoughts?

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I think the first question to ask is whether you want or need birth control. Birth control pills have quite a few negative effects, so taking them if not absolutely necessary is not wise. There are other ways to address osteoporosis. The first thing to do is to find out WHY you have osteoporosis. Some possible reasons are Vitamin D deficiency, hyperparathyroidism, celiac disease, recent pregnancy and breastfeeding . . . and there are many more.

Is it possible your doctor is trying to prevent another pregnancy until your body recovers from an earlier one?

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I would suggest a specialist in the field of Osteoporosis. I did not start out with a specialist when first diagnosed and I wished I had. The others that responded had good suggestions as well. You are very young to have such a low T score.

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I suggest you buy and read Lara Pizzorno's excellent and inexpensive book "Your Bones." It will give you information about bone health that you can use for the rest of your life. Good luck!

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Thank you all for the suggestions and comments. Osteoporosis runs in my family, both my maternal aunts and my mother suffer with it. The reasons I believe I developed the condition so young are as follows:
1.Being an athlete in my late teens and early twenties and not getting a mental cycle. Actually, it has never returned to normal until just recently.
2. Fertility treatments, including several cycles of Invitro fertilization to have my children.
3. Breastfeeding my children for 1 &1/2 years each child. (Daughter is 7 & son is 4)
4. I was also a smoker in college, and grad school.

You make an interesting point..
Am I correct in reading your comment, that if I can maintain my menstral cycle WITHOUT the birth control pills that I am better off not taking them?
I would rather not take them, they make me miserable.

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Birth control pills can damage gut flora and compromise your ability to receive nutrients from food - not something you need to happen with osteoporosis. I only wish I knew this a long time ago. I took BC pills for 30 years and I'm sure it contributed to my OP.

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MIssie2 - Whether or not oral contraception is right for you (and if so, which kind) needs to be decided between you and a qualified health professional who understands premenopausal bone loss, your individual medical history and can advise which options are best for your unique situation. Treating premenopausal bone loss is quite complex. If you can't find a specialist in your area, we can recommend experts in your state who specialize in premenopausal bone loss. We'd advise that you not make any changes to your current medications without consulting first with an appropriate healthcare professional.

Feel free to call us directly at 800-231-4222 or email us at so we can work with you directly.

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Thank you.... I might do that, depending on how I end up after my bone scan and appt. with my obgyn on Feburary 6th.

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Good luck at your appointment!

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I was on low dose birth control pill for probably 20 years to regulate my period. I found out I had osteopenia about 7 years ago because I also have celiac disease (gluten intolerance) which makes you susceptible to it, thyroid problems (started 6 yrs ago), other immune deficiencies...

GP couldn't do any of the meds as not post menopausal. I was just diagnosed last year with colon cancer so had to stop BCP because of Chemo which stopped my period. When I finished chemo, I tested if Peri-menopausal but no such luck. I also redid bone density and got a little worse, but knew that was coming from chemo. Low and behold a couple of weeks after blood test, I got my period back at 51 though not every month. I was somewhat happy to get it because I knew it would help in the fight against osteoporosis. I am not going back on BCP at this time in my life. I tend to take 1200mg Calcium Citrate along with 2000IU Vitamin D. I try to look for fruits and veggies with calcium in them as best way to get it, but do eat yogurt and cheese. i walk a lot but that is only good for the hips. I am now working out in the YMCA Livestrong program so am getting some upper body workouts which should help.

My Mom, who has osteoporosis now 85 has been on a suite of Fosamex, Actonel and can't remember what else for last 13 yrs and she has never gotten better bone densities. This is not saying she couldn't have gotten worse without them.

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