Birth Control and Bone Health

"Bone normal and degraded micro structure" by Gtirouflet - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bone_normal_and_degraded_micro_structure.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bone_normal_and_degraded_micro_structure.jpg As women, bone health is something we have to pay special attention to. We are more likely to develop osteoporosis and suffer bone fractures later in life than men because our bones tend to be less dense and lighter than their's. This is due to our smaller size and the hormonal changes we go through. In addition to these natural differences, some types of birth control can weaken our bones.

Depo-Provera, an injectable hormonal birth control, can have a negative impact on our bones. Making sure you are getting the right nutrients and staying physically active to build strong bones is of utmost importance for all women, but this is even more true for women on the Depo shot.

There are a number of foods you can eat and activities you can participate in which will help protect your bones.

Physical Activity

What kind of physical activity will help you keep your bones strong well into your latter years? Weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercise is any form of exercise that you must support your own body weight or additional weight against the pull of gravity. Running is a kind of weight bearing exercise while cycling is not, tennis is but swimming is not. Examples of weight bearing exercise besides running and swimming include:

  • Dancing
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Cheerleading
  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Gymnastics/ tumbling/ acrobatics
  • Jumping rope
  • Urban Rebounding (trampoline)
  • Kickboxing
  • Weight lifting
  • Yoga (though I don't think aerial yoga would count)
  • and the list goes on and on...

Foods to Eat

Just like exercise, nutrition plays a major role in bone health. Foods high in magnesium, silicon, vitamins K, D, and C, boron, and calcium should be included regularly in our diets to ensure our bones are getting what they need.

Foods for Bone Health

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pigeon Peas
  • Buckwheat
  • Grains like oats and barley
  • Red Lentils
  • Bananas
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Avocados
  • Halibut
  • Mushrooms exposed to uv light
  • Salmon
  • Dairy
  • Soybeans
  • Collard Greens
  • Pineapples
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruit

Things to Avoid

The things below can actually reduce our bone density and increase our chances of fractures and osteoporosis in the future. So, in addition to staying active and eating nutritious foods there are things you want to steer clear of:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking soft drinks/soda/pop/ coke (there are so many names for sweetened carbonated beverages...)
  • Drinking too much alcohol

If you are concerned about how Depo-Provera might affect your bone health now and in the future talk to your health care provider. They are there to answer your questions.

Sources: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference