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Men With IBD: Should You Be Concerned About Male Osteoporosis?

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If you're a male who has inflammatory bowel disease, you may have many concerns about maintaining your digestive health. But one of the things you may not consider or worry about is the health of your bones. Although inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects your digestive system, the condition can also lead to male osteoporosis. Male osteoporosis can damage the bone tissues in your spine, hips, jawbones, and other body areas over time, which places you at risk for bone fractures and infections. Learn more about secondary male osteoporosis, IBD and your treatment options for both conditions.

How Does Secondary Male Osteoporosis Develop?

Most people usually associate osteoporosis with women's health. But a growing number of men in the United States also face the possibility of developing osteoporosis.Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. As with women, osteoporosis can occur as a normal part of the aging process in men, or it may develop as a result of another medical condition, such as gastrointestinal disease

So, how can IBD lead to secondary male osteoporosis?

IBD and other types of gastrointestinal diseases make it difficult for your body to absorb and utilize calcium, vitamin D and other bone-building nutrients. The medications and diet restrictions used to treat and manage IBD can interfere with your colon's ability to break down nutrients and distribute them throughout your body. IBD can also cause painful ulcers inside the intestinal tract that make eating some types of nutrient-rich foods impossible. If you don't get enough bone-building nutrients in your diet because of the symptoms and side effects you experience from IBD and its treatments, your bones become weak and brittle. 

You may eventually notice critical changes in the bones of your body when you exercise, work or even sit down in a chair. For example, you may hear clicking or popping sounds in your hips when you bend down to pick up something. The bones in your hands may feel sore, cramped and achy when you type on a keyboard or write with a pen. Your jawbones may make abnormal sounds when you chew foods or open your mouth to speak. If your bones become too brittle, you may even fracture them. These types of problems can become worse as you age. 

To avoid problems with your bones, speak to a doctor about your treatment options.

Can a Doctor Treat Secondary Male Osteoporosis and Help Manage Your IBD?

An orthopaedic specialist can offer a number of treatment options for secondary male osteoporosis, including four types of FDA-approved medications. The medications encourage your bone cells to grow and rebuild new tissue over time. If your poor bone density caused other issues, such as low testosterone, a doctor may prescribe medications that increase your hormone levels. In some cases, low testosterone may lead to male osteoporosis and other bone density problems.

A specialist may also prescribe vitamin supplements to improve your bones' health that won't interfere with or aggravate your IBD. Although the supplements won't completely replace the nutrients you lose from your daily diet, they can help reduce the loss of bone tissue in your body. A bone doctor may send you to a nutritionist who'll design meal plans that fit your digestive system's tolerance levels and dietary needs.

In addition, a bone doctor may work closely with your primary physician to help manage the symptoms of your IBD and osteoporosis. If you experience complications with either medical problem, your doctors can make the necessary medication and dietary changes you need to stay healthy. 

If you need more information about male osteoporosis or how your IBD affects the health of your bones, contact a bone doctor or specialist in your area today.