As women experience menopause, estrogen production naturally slows down. Estrogen helps support bone growth, so many women have weaker bones later in life. Some women are at risk for developing osteoporosis, which causes the bones to become extremely brittle and easily fractured. To protect your bones, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Vitamins, minerals, and exercise help your bones stay healthy as you age. Your doctor may recommend starting calcium supplements as you age to protect your bones.