Crohns & Osteoporosis ???

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 10/6/2009 2:54 AM (GMT -7)   
I went for a regular check up yesterday and result from my bone scan they revealed i have thinning of the bones 'osteoporosis'
So was just wondering if anyone else with crohns also suffer from this in the UK ? If so what was the next stage for you did you take calcuim supplements?
I have to go back in Thursday and they are going to tell me what to do about it!
Kayleaconker tongue
Age 22 Diagnosed with Crohns in 2006
Live in the UK

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2004
Total Posts : 422
   Posted 10/6/2009 4:09 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been quite sick for the past 2 years. Just now starting to come out of it. Since I'd been throwing up and pooping out every bit of nutrients I was able to swallow, I knew it had to be affecting my bones so I asked for a Bone Density Scan. Mine came back as me having "Osteopenia".

So my GI threw some drugs my way...Fosamax (bone builder) and 3/day Calcium supplements. I didn't take the Fosamax because I didn't like the side effects of it (seizures). I only took the Calcium supplements ONE day because of the god-awful, painful constipation they brought on. (the calcium supplement most often prescribed is Calcium you're only getting 40% of elemental calcium in each pill...the other 60% is carbon).

A few weeks later, I met with a new doctor, an Internist. He looked over my Bone Density test results and I told him the drugs my GI had prescribed for me. This Internist had a whole different take on the situation. He said those Bone Density Scans only show things as they are for that particular moment in time. I had been ill and he wasn't surprised to see the results. However, I'm 37 years old. He said because of my young age, he'd suggest NOT taking the Fosamax and re-do the Bone Scan in a year. If I was still losing bone mass, then he'd suggest me starting on the Fosamax. As for the calcium carbonate pills, he said if I could handle dairy I would get plenty of elemental calcium in milk, cheese and/or yogurt. Since I eat cheese every day and take a One-A-Day vitamin supplement with 100% of the RDA for Calcium, he said to lay off the Calcium carbonate supplements, too.

It's frustrating NOT knowing what do to or who to believe...however since I liked the explanation of the Internist's better, I'm going with him. Maybe in a year I'll find out my Osteopenia has turned into Osteoporosis. That will be bad. It's a gamble.

Good luck with your doctor's visit to find out what they suggest you do!
Diagnosed in October, 2004 at age 32 (misdiagnosed with IBS in 2002)
Current Rx's: Colazal (generic), Omeprazole (PRN), Librax, One-A-Day multivitamin, Probiotic, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Cranberry pills
Secondary conditions: swelling ankles, extreme fatigue, mouth ulcers, joint pain
Previous/occasional Rx's: Prednisone, Flagyl, Levaquin, Xifaxan, Carafate
4/7/09: Gall bladder removal laproscopic surgery (gall stones)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 884
   Posted 10/6/2009 10:36 AM (GMT -7)   
conker, I don't have osteoporisis, but I do take a few different meds that can affect your bone mass, so my doctor has had me on calcium supplements as well as vitamin D supplements for years and they have kept me from losing any bone mass (which is a very common side effect of the Depo Provera).  Vitamin D helps you absorb the calcium better.   

Crohn's Disease, Acid Reflux/Gastritis, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Endometriosis, Arthritis, Depression/Anxiety.  Too many meds to list them all.  =) 

Rider Fan
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1445
   Posted 10/6/2009 10:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Calcium carbonate is garbage, calcium citrate is much better.
33 y/o male. Dx'ed in 1999. No surgeries.

Current meds: Humira 2/27/09. Proferrin iron pills.

Tried SCD, didn't work, now avoiding gluten and dairy.

Go Saskatchewan Roughriders!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 10/6/2009 2:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I can't remember exactly what age I was when I had my first compression fracture but it was my early thirties. I have also had multiple rib fractures just from coughing. Technically that makes it osteoporosis, but my numbers are osteopenia. I am almost 45 now, but my bone scans have gotten BETTER. This is what my Endocrinologist has had me do.

I started out on the Fosamax type drugs but they bothered me (caused heartburn type pain and headaches), so they were a no go. Then we tried the nasal spray meds. But I kept forgetting to take it. I'm really good about pills, but I couldn't remember to take that. She put me on birth control pills to help me absorb more calcium (had my tubes tied at 28, so I didn't NEED the B/C). I take 50,000IU of Vit D once a week, plus 1000IU a day to help absorb calcium, and I take 1200mg of calcium a day. For me this has worked. My bone scans have improved. They still are at the osteopenia level, but they are better than they were.

I am not in the UK by the way. Osteoporosis is unfortunately not uncommon among CDers.

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/6/2009 4:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't know if this helps, but my partner's GI took him OFF prednisone (after being on them almost constantly for 5 years) because of bone loss. He said that it was getting to the point that if he was on them much longer, he could be doing something as simple as playing drums, and a wrist could break.

So, maybe not so much the Crohn's that causes bone density loss, but perhaps meds that you take for it??? Partner currently takes calcium supplement every day!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 10/6/2009 9:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Certainly the meds are a problem, especially pred. But Crohn's can cause problems all by itself. Absorption problems often follow inflammation and D also makes it hard to absorb nutrients. Building bone requires more than just calcium and vitamin D. Magnesium is another necessity and so is vitamin K. A lesser known need is sodium. Normally it is oversupplied in our diet, but in severe D, your electrolyte balance is deranged and you may not have enough. A deficiency in the blood results in sodium being taken from the bones.

Calcium should not be taken in the carbonate form. First, it is very poorly absorbed - you only get about 12% of the calcium taken in that form - even without other absorption problems. Second, it neutralizes your stomach acid and prevents your digestive enzymes from working properly - this causes bacterial overgrowth in the SI and a number of other problems. Third, if taken alone, calcium carbonate causes constipation. The form of calcium should be a salt of an organic acid like citrate, fumarate, maleate, succinate or a combination of those. Some calcium is in the form of "HVP chelate" which stands for "hydrolysed vegetable protein chelate" - probably OK.

Magnesium is needed for proper utilization of calcium and can be taken in combination with calcium. It is best to get twice the amount of calcium as magnesium in a combo - that is, 400 mg of magnesium and 800 mg of calcium for example. Magnesium has the opposite effect of calcium and can cause D if taken by itself - that is why a combination of the two in the proper ratio is best.

Sodium is often provided in gatorade or an oral rehydration drink. These often have too much sugar and sugar can cause its own problems. In theory, drinks that are sweetened with glucose or dextrose would be all right, since those sugars are quickly absorbed and do not enter the gut where they feed bacterial growth. However, those sweeteners usually include other sugars and consuming them can cause the same problems. Plain soda water is probably better.

Vitamin D is getting to be better known, although it is another supplement that can be a problem to absorb as a supplement. Since it is oil soluble, it is taken up in the small intestine and if the SI is inflamed or diarrhea is active, you might not get much via that route.

Vitamin K is another oil soluble vitamin and has similar absorption risks as vitamin D. In addition, a large part of your vitamin K is provided by friendly gut bacteria which are eliminated by prolonged D or by antibiotics. A prolonged vitamin K deficiency is associated with kidney stones.

Fosamax is of questionable use. It works by preventing the breakdown of bone cells. This stops the normal process of bone formation which starts with the breaking down of old bone and then growing new. The problem does not get worse, but it doesn't get better either.

Post Edited (Keeper) : 10/6/2009 10:55:40 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 72
   Posted 10/7/2009 2:39 AM (GMT -7)   
God thanks everyone for you input!

It has given me alot to think about just bit sad i got this at just age 22!

I will let you all know how i get on Thursday and what they recommend.

Thanks again everyone x
Age 22 Diagnosed with Crohns in 2006
Live in the UK

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