After 3 months, I would recommend that everyone on prednisone get a DEXA bone density test...to see if you already have osteoporosis or to establish your baseline and see if you need to take preventative measures to slow it down. It's easy, two x-rays. I got osteoporosis after a year of prednisone (at age 31), 7 months at 20 mg a day, and 5 months at 40 mg a day before I tapered off it on my own. After that, I had my colon removed just to get off that stuff and Asacol forever and to avoid any other degradation to my otherwise healthy organs. I also lost 2 inches of height, I use to be 6' 2", now I'm just 6'. That would be another sign that you may be getting osteoporosis.
My family doctor didn't like steroids and ordered the bone density test about 9 months into my steroid treatment, and my fired GI specialist and his aids acted "shocked" that I got osteoporosis that fast. After some research, I found it isn't that uncommon to lose up to 20% to 30% of your bone mass in the first 6 months of steroid treatment. Then that drop decreases. So be proactive and get a baseline DEXA scan if your taking prednisone for the long term (more than 3 to 6 months). I now have to take Actonel forever. But that's only 2 pills once a month. Thank God my family doctor caught this or I would still be losing bone mass and would probably only find out after breaking something. I'll be interested to see what my next bone density scan reveals next year.
Age 0 to 30 - 100% healthy, no meds, no doctor visits, no hospital stays
Oct. 2006 - Symptoms of UC began
3/5/2007 - Diagnosed with UC - Pancolitis (entire colon involved)
20mg-40mg/day Prednisone, 4.8 g/day Asacol - didn't work at all
10/12/2007 - Steroid Induced Osteoporosis from Prednisone and Anemic
add Actonel (75mgx2 pills/month) and daily iron pills
2/12/2008 - open Subtotal Colectomy with Temporary Ileostomy Surgery
8/05/2008 - Unexpected surgery to remove blockage caused by scar tissue
Jan. 2009 - J-Pouch Surgery and possible Ileo Reversal Surgery Scheduled
"When life gives you lemons...make lemonade"