Update on hormonal contraception and bone density

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2011 Jun;12(2):93-106. doi: 10.1007/s11154-011-9180-6.


Combination hormonal contraception and progestin-only contraception (including depot medroxyprogesterone acetate [DMPA]) are effective and convenient forms of reversible contraception that millions of women use worldwide. In recent years, observations of reduced bone mineral density in current users of these methods have led to concerns that this hormone-induced bone loss might translate into long-term increased fracture risk. Special focus has been placed on adolescent users who have not yet attained their peak bone mass as well as perimenopausal users. In 2004, the FDA added a black box warning to DMPA package labeling warning of the risk of significant bone loss and cautioning against long-term use (> 2 years). This article reviews evidence on the use of hormonal contraception and its effect on bone density in adolescent, premenopausal, and perimenopausal populations. Recommendations from reproductive healthcare organizations are reviewed and clinical recommendations are provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / adverse effects*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / therapeutic use
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / adverse effects
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / therapeutic use
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / adverse effects*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / chemically induced
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Perimenopause
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal