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Estradiol and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone as Predictorsof Onset of Menopause Transition-Related Bone Loss inPre- and Perimenopausal Women

Albert Shieh,Gail A Greendale,Jane A Cauley,Carrie Karvonen-Gutierrez,Carolyn J Crandall,and Arun S Karlamangla

Doi: 10.1002/jbmr.3856


 The menopause transition (MT) may be an opportunity for early intervention to prevent rapid bone loss. To intervene early, we need to be able to prospectively identify pre- and perimenopausal women who are beginning to lose bone. This study examined whether estradiol (E2), or follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), measured in pre- and perimenopausal women, can predict significant bone loss by the next year. Bone loss was considered significant if bone mineral density (BMD) decline at the lumbar spine (LS) or femoral neck (FN) from a pre- or early perimenopausal baseline to 1 year after the E2 or FSH measurement was greater than the least detectable change. We used data from 1559 participants in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation and tested E2 and FSH as separate predictors using repeated measures modified Poisson regression. Adjusted for MT stage, age, race/ethnicity, and body mass index, women with lower E2 (and higher FSH) were more likely to lose BMD: At the LS, each halving of E2 and each doubling of FSH were associated with 10% and 39% greater risk of significant bone loss, respectively (p < 0.0001 for each). At the FN, each halving of E2 and each doubling of FSH were associated with 12% (p = 0.01) and 27% (p < 0.001) greater risk of significant bone loss. FSH was more informative than E2 (assessed by the area under the receiver-operator curve) at identifying women who were more versus less likely to begin losing bone, especially at the LS. Prediction was better when hormones were measured in pre- or early perimenopause than in late perimenopause. Tracking within-individual change in either hormone did not predict onset of bone loss better than a single measure.

 We conclude that measuring FSH in the MT can help prospectively identify women with imminent or ongoing bone loss at the LS.

 © 2019 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research