When is a bone mineral density scan required for missed periods?Endocrinology Women's Health Sport Medicine
I understand that missed periods can be a risk factor for osteoporosis. If I am experiencing amenorrhea for a period of time, when should I consider taking a bone mineral density test to rule out osteoporosis?
Yes, missing periods may sometimes put you at increased risk of osteoporosis, but this depends on the underlying cause of why you're missing your periods. If it is due to PCOS, then there is no risk of osteoporosis, because in PCOS, your oestrogen level is good but the reason you're not having a period is because you're not ovulating.
Apart from this, most other causes of missing periods/amenorrhoea are associated with oestrogen deficiency. Oestrogen deficiency is associated with low bone mineral density.
Examples would include menopause (if occurs under the age of 40, is considered premature menopause/premature ovarian insufficiency), functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea (usually associated with excessive exercise/dieting) and disorders of the pituitary gland.
It is usually recommended to do a bone mineral density test if amenorrhoea is present for over 6 months.
Missed periods and its relation to osteoporosis are only in specific situations whereby the levels of Estrogen in your body is low, eg premature menopause.
There can be several reasons why you could be experiencing amenorrhea, and the best advice for you is to seek a doctor's opinion as soon as possible to find out what the underlying cause is.
The answer to your question will depend on many other factors such as your age, medical history, medications etc.
Bone mineral density test is usually recommended for surveillence for women who have menopaused or who have premature menopause/ovarian failure as well as other risk factors for osteoporosis.
Again, do see a doctor early to find out the reason behind your amenorrhea before doing a BMD.
Dr Michelle Chia