Colitis Home > Osteoporosis and Ulcerative Colitis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. People who have ulcerative colitis may be at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Ulcerative colitis patients who have been taking glucocorticoids (such as prednisone or cortisone) for long periods of time may experience bone loss. Over time, glucocorticoids can interfere with the bone-remodeling process and calcium balance -- and the level of bone loss increases as the dosage of glucocorticoids increases and the duration of therapy gets younger.

An Overview of Osteoporosis and Ulcerative Colitis

There may be a link between osteoporosis and ulcerative colitis. Those affected by ulcerative colitis may have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis -- a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture.

 
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. Fractures from osteoporosis can result in significant pain and disability. It is a major health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans, 68 percent of whom are women.
 
Some risk factors for osteoporosis include:
 
  • Being thin or having a small frame
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Being postmenopausal or having had early menopause
  • Having an abnormal absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Using certain medications, such as glucocorticoids, for prolonged periods of time
  • Having low calcium intake
  • Being physically inactive
  • Smoking
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
     
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).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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