Osteoporosis: Symptoms, Tests, Treatment & Causes


Osteoporosis is a condition that affects men and women all over the world. When afflicted with the condition the bones start becoming weak and brittle.  With time they may get so weak that a fall or slight stress can lead to a fracture in the hip, wrist or spine. 

Bones in our body constantly undergo regeneration. Osteoporosis occurs when the regeneration or renewal is slower than the loss or degeneration of  bones. Women, past menopause, are at the highest risk of Osteoporosis.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

Symptoms are usually noticed once the bones become weakened by osteoporosis. Common symptoms are –

  • Back pain due to fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Gradual height loss
  • Stooped posture
  • Easy fractures
  • Or noticed on an X Ray done for something else

Causes of Osteoporosis

Following are some of the commonly known causes of osteoporosis –

  • Age, particularly in women, as the hormone levels change
  • Long-term use of oral or injected corticosteroid medications
  • Certain medications for seizures, gastric reflux, cancer, transplant rejection
  • Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney or liver disease, cancer, multiple myeloma, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sedentary lifestyle, alcohol addiction and smoking

It is better to consult a doctor if you had early menopause, took corticosteroids for a long period of time, or have family history of Osteoporosis.

Tests for Osteoporosis

Usually, a painless test is done for detecting Osteoporosis. The test measures the density of the bones in your hip and spine. Other than bone density test, CT scan may also be done to quantify the condition

Treatment of Osteoporosis

Treatment is usually done after the bone density test, to lower the risk of breaking a bone. For low risk individuals treatment may be done by managing risk factors for bone loss and falls. For high risk individuals medications like oral or intravenous bisphosphonate or denosumab are generally prescribed.

However, if not taken properly the medications may cause side effects like nausea, abdominal pain and heartburn-like symptoms. 

Other treatment options –

  • Estrogen therapy for younger women or those who need treatment for menopausal issues
  • Raloxifene (Evista) therapy for postmenopausal women
  • Testosterone replacement therapy for men along with osteoporosis medications
  • Bone-building medications like Teriparatide, Abaloparatide or Romosozumab for those with severe osteoporosis, in which common treatments don’t work well.

The above mentioned medication may have side effects like increasing risk of breast cancer and blood clots resulting in strokes, hot flashes. 

Highly experienced doctors work with DocGenie and are ready to help you with any Osteoporosis related issues.  You can get an online/in-clinic consultation with an experienced GP or Endocrinologist  on DocGenie for early treatment and cure.