Following the birth of her first baby, Isabelle Gottschalk-Schmidt of Weimar, Germany, experienced "the worst pain of my life. It lasted weeks and weeks and weeks," she says. "I couldn't even bend over to take my baby out of her crib."

Gottsschalk Schmidt, GermanyMrs. Gottschalk-Schmidt, then 25 years of age, said her physician "simply didn't believe me. He told me I had a psychosomatic illness and told me that I developed the pain because I hated my husband and my child." Finally her grandfather, a retired physician, insisted that she have x-rays. They showed that Isabelle Gottschalk-Schmidt had several fractured vertebrae, due to osteoporosis.

Prof. Helmut Minne, the physician who treated Isabelle Gottschalk-Schmidt, wasn't surprised. "First, it's criminal how many doctors ignore the obvious fact that bone and joint pain might be attributable to osteoporosis," he says. "Second, Mrs. Gottschalk-Schmidt√Ęs treatment was a classic example of sexual chauvinism in medicine. Women endure it. But they shouldn't."

Read more stories of people with osteoporosis.