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Crohn's disease and osteoporosis are often related conditions. Because of problems absorbing certain nutrients or medications, people with Crohn's disease are more likely to develop osteoporosis. Also, some medications used to treat Crohn's may trigger bone loss. Strategies for preventing osteoporosis in people with Crohn's disease involve good nutrition, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

Crohn's and Osteoporosis: An Overview

Those affected by Crohn's disease may also have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. Fractures resulting from osteoporosis can result in significant pain and disability. Osteoporosis is a major health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, 68 percent of whom are women.
Risk factors for osteoporosis include:
  • Thinness or small frame
  • A family history of the disease
  • Being postmenopausal or having had early menopause
  • Abnormal absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Prolonged use of certain medications, such as glucocorticoids
  • Low calcium intake
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease that can often be prevented. However, if it goes undetected, it can progress for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs (see Symptoms of Osteoporosis).
Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Crohn's disease usually occurs in the lower part of the small intestine (called the ileum), but it can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The inflammation can cause pain and can make the intestines empty more frequently, resulting in diarrhea.
Crohn's disease may also be called ileitis or enteritis.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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