Osteoporosis causes a persons bones to break and is often a result of someone aging. When bones get thinner they become more fragile, which can lead to serious problems such as fractures and breaks. These fractures can be extremely painful and lead to other kinds of dangerous problems. One example is that someone with osteoporosis could easily lose their balance and fall, which could lead to other physical problems such as cuts and bruises. While the condition is common in both sexes, it is more common among women than men.

older woman being examined for osteoporosis

Thinner, Small Bones

The average woman is roughly five to seven inches shorter than the average man and also has smaller bones. In general, people have frames that can be divided into three distinct sizes: small, medium and large. Most women, even those with larger frames, will still have smaller frames than men. This means that the average woman will have still have smaller bones even she is nearly the same height as a man. Thinner, smaller bones break more easily than bones that are larger and thicker.

Less Calcium

Women also spend less time engaging in activities that can help build up their calcium reserves. Calcium is a mineral that helps keep bones strong. Men are more likely to participate in sports that can help build up calcium reserves that keep bones strong even as they get older. As women age, they are less likely to participate in activities such as weight lifting, which can increase calcium in the bones.


Most women will choose to get pregnant during the course of their lifetime. Carrying a baby for nine months can severely decrease a woman’s calcium reserves. A fetus will draw on a woman’s calcium stores to create bones. If the pregnant woman fails to get enough additional calcium during the pregnancy to make up for the calcium the baby has taken, she may find herself emerging from the pregnancy with vastly decreased calcium stores that can contribute to bone loss later in life. This deficit may be quite large if the woman has multiple pregnancies or gives birth to more than one baby at a time.


In general, women are protected from bone loss and osteoporosis until menopause. Before menopause, women have a hormone called estrogen in their bodies, which helps keep a woman’s bones strong and healthy. When women go through menopause, they can experience a dramatic drop in the amount of this hormone. The drop in estrogen levels can lead to a decrease in the strength of a woman’s bones. Menopause can also leave women feeling more fatigued, making it harder for them to exercise. Some women may go through menopause at an earlier age than usual, making them even more at risk for osteoporosis.

All of these reasons and more leave women at risk for osteoporosis. If you are experiencing back pain or frequent fractures, it is time to see a doctor.