Combined Hormonal Contraceptives & Bone Health

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When thinking about estrogen and progesterone – I think we get trapped the mindset that they are only there for reproduction. And yes, that is a main function of estrogen and progesterone, however these hormones are systemic, and more research is coming out now that there are estrogen and progesterone receptors all over our bodies.

Knowing that there are receptors for estrogen and progesterone all over our bodies, sparks the question, what harm are we doing to our overall health by shutting down our endogenous estrogen and progesterone with Combined Hormonal Contraception (CHC)?

There is a 2-year study that evaluated the impact of using CHC in adolescent females, and the impact that these CHC have on their bone health. 

The two groups – CHC users, and non-CHC users had their bone mineral density measured at various anatomical locations at the start and then at the end of the 2-year time frame.

Adolescents that used CHC’s demonstrated less peak bone mineral density (ie. Less dense bone structure) in comparison to the girls who were not on CHC’s.

THIS IS HUGE

In our teenage / young adult years is when we are building up our peak bone density – setting us up for healthier bones in our later adult years and perimenopausal/ menopausal years. The healthier we can get our bones now, the less likely we are to have fractures when we are elderly.

It’s hard to have the foresight, when you’re 15 you are not necessarily thinking about 60-year-old-future-you bones and fracture risk. As a naturopathic physician, it is my job to prevent future illness, and research papers such as the one I am referring to, are SO important in guiding my practice, and my ability to EDUCATE my patients on their overall health!

Please check out the full research article to read about the details of the study, other bone health factors they took into consideration, methodology, and how this will guide future research in this area of medicine!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016495/

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