Testosterone and Osteoporosis in Men: What’s the Connection?

On: December 11, 2019
Estrogen, Osteoporosis, Testosterone

Check this out: having low testosterone levels is the number one cause of osteoporosis in men. Obviously, low testosterone results in a lot of negative symptoms in men.

But can it cause osteoporosis too? Read on to know the link between T and osteoporosis in men!

Osteoporosis in Men vs Woman: What’s the Difference?

Want to know all about osteoporosis in men versus women? Although osteoporosis is usually linked to women going through menopause, you’d be surprised to find that men are at risk as well.

In fact, contributing factors such as preexisting conditions, exercise habits, and dietary choices impact both men and women equally when it comes to osteoporosis. However,  males with super-low levels of testosterone are at even greater risk for developing osteoporosis.

Let’s face it: women who suffer from osteoporosis during menopause can link their problems to a lack of estrogen in their bodies. To put it simply, this can lead to the deterioration of something called the trabecular bone. What’s the connection between men and osteoporosis?

Thanks to the natural decrease of estradiol as men grow older, testosterone and osteoporosis in men go hand-in-hand. Yet, the difference between men and women is that males don’t have to lose their trabecular bone while battling osteoporosis.

Instead, men with osteoporosis will often experience a “trabecular thinning,” which means that they’ll lose fewer bone minerals and density due to their symptoms. In addition to everything that we’ve talked about above, there are a few key lifestyle differences between men and women that impact their rates of developing osteoporosis too.

For instance, men spend more time in the gym than women on average, which is great for preventing bone mass loss. On top of that, women are known to live much longer than men, increasing their rate of osteoporosis development as well.

That’s not all. Fun fact – in case you didn’t know, men experience a loss in bone density around the age of 70. But even though men don’t go through a hormonal change as women do, they can still get osteoporosis from lack of testosterone in their bodies!

What Causes Testosterone Deficiency?

Wait, what causes testosterone deficiency, anyway? It’s can be traced back to several significant factors, which include:

  • Age
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Hypogonadism

As we talked about above, men don’t experience as dramatic of a hormonal shift as women do during the aging process. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impact men at all, especially when you consider how much their bone density is affected by age.

When you think about it, something called glucocorticoids can result in osteoporosis in men too. For those who aren’t in the know, this is an asthma treatment that is typically prescribed for a really long time. However, one of the worst side effects is that it can cause testosterone deficiency.

How about hypogonadism? This happens when men don’t produce enough testosterone in their bodies. Crazily enough, you can either be born with this disease or develop its symptoms over time due to illness or injury!

What Causes Osteoporosis in Men?

That being said, there are actually two different kinds of osteoporosis that you need to keep an eye out for, including primary osteoporosis and secondary osteoporosis. Nicknamed “senile osteoporosis,” primary osteoporosis occurs as a result of old age.

Meanwhile, secondary osteoporosis can be caused by low testosterone levels in men. Besides this, secondary osteoporosis can also be triggered by:

  • Prescriptions such as anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, and steroids
  • Too much consumption of alcohol on a regular basis
  • Excessive cigarette smoking
  • Gastrointestinal ailments
  • Musculoskeletal diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
  • Immobility

Do any of these symptoms ring a bell? If so, then you might want to schedule a doctor’s visit right away. With a physician’s help, you may be able to stop the symptoms of osteoporosis in their tracks!

Estrogen and Osteoporosis: What’s the Link?

You might find this hard to believe, but the link between men, estrogen, and osteoporosis is very conclusive. As a matter of fact, estrogen production is literally the building block for stronger bones in men and women.

Shockingly enough, a lack of estrogen plays a huge role in the development of osteoporosis in both genders. Although men only have estrogen in small amounts, their bone mineral density is still impacted by a decrease of this essential hormone.

However, doctors are still unclear on whether they should monitor estrogen levels in men to treat osteoporosis. In spite of this, woman are monitored for any changes in their estrogen levels by the time that they hit menopause. That’s when doctors ask them a bunch of questions about their medical and family histories.

Once that step is done, the doctor can confirm the patient’s risk of developing osteoporosis. The next step is to conduct one or more experiments on the female patient, which can include anything from:

  • Biochemical marker testing
  • Blood calcium level testing
  • 5-hydroxyvitamin D testing
  • Vertebral spine fracture examination
  • DXA scans to check bone density

But here’s the catch. For men, none of these tests are even conducted unless a bone fracture has already happened. Otherwise, frequent complaints about back pain can also encourage the doctor to conduct some of the tests that we mentioned above.

Osteoporotic Fractures and Men: Why Do They Happen?

You know the feeling: when you fall and worry that you may have snapped a bone. Also known as a bone fracture, this could be the first sign of someone who has osteoporosis. Even though men get hit with osteoporotic fractures much later in life than their female counterparts do, that doesn’t mean that it’s nothing to be concerned about.

Before you start doing a victory dance, keep in mind that men have way higher odds off passing away from complications that are related to osteoporotic hip fractures than women do. Sadly, tens of thousands of men take a dip and break their hip every single year.

It gets worse. Despite the fact that they already survived the fall, chances are that men who’ve fractured their hip will fall and fracture it again later on. In addition to this, men are also more likely to develop fractures in their ribs than women are too.

On the bright side, osteoporosis isn’t considered to be painful unless it results in a fracture. That’s why so many physicians skip osteoporosis screening for men until they reach their middle ages. However, keeping a close eye on your bone health is the key to beating osteoporosis before it starts, particularly if you’re at risk for developing it.

Have you lost at least two inches in height recently? If so, then it doesn’t hurt to have your testosterone levels analyzed right away. And while you’re at it, you might want to get an osteoporosis screening as well.

What if you’re a man that’s over 50 years of age? If that’s the case, then your physician may suggest that you take a DXA scan just in case. That way, you’ll know if you have any problems with your bone density before osteoporosis can strike as time passes!

Best Osteoporosis Treatment For Men

Dying to find out what the best osteoporosis treatment for men? Luckily for you, we’ve got some suggestions that just might do the trick. Normally, osteoporosis treatments involve some kind of lifestyle change.

For those who are feeling totally confused, lifestyle changes can include things like shifting which medications you take, how much you work out, and what you decide to eat. But here’s the kicker: men who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis have a few more options that they can choose from.

Besides stocking up on foods that block estrogen in men, doctors suggest undergoing testosterone replacement therapy to treat men with low testosterone and osteoporosis. This hormone replacement therapy can be given several ways:

  • Orally with a simple injection
  • Transdermally via a patch or a gel
  • Under the tongue as a sublingual serum
  • Implanted as a special device

Still with us? The most appealing part about testosterone replacement therapy is that it can treat a ton of other medical conditions such as metabolic issues, sexual health problems, and lack of bone mass.

Get this – men with osteoporosis have come out on the other side of testosterone replacement therapy with much stronger bone density too. If you’re thinking of trying out testosterone replacement therapy for yourself, then prepare to work side by side with your physician to see if your body is reacting to the treatment.

Sounds simple enough to us!

Lifestyle Changes For Men With Osteoporosis

Are you a man with osteoporosis that’s on the hunt for lifestyle changes? Ironically, some of the same preventative steps that you can take to avoid osteoporosis also help to treat the disease.

For example, switching up your nutrition and diet habits is the biggest lifestyle change that you can make. Plus, getting enough vitamin D and calcium intake is much more vital than you’d originally thought. And don’t forget to ditch your addiction to protein, caffeine, or sodium too, particularly since they can reduce your calcium absorbency levels.

Let’s take a moment and talk about how much alcohol and nicotine use impact our health. Clearly, quitting your smoking addiction and limiting the number of after-work whiskeys that you drink is the first step toward better bone health.

Another word of advice is to pick up the dumbbells as much as possible. That’s because exercises that include weight-bearing equipment can help you double up on your bone strength. In addition, you’ll notice that your balance will be improved, which is excellent for preventing falls.

Have we mentioned how helpful it is to receive regular bone health exams yet? If not, then we’ve failed you miserably, because this is the main point that we’re driving home. As a man, the smartest thing that you can do is begin to monitor your bone health before you turn 30 years old.

We know this because this is the time that your bones are strengthening and growing so much in the first place. So, when you control the risk factors for osteoporosis earlier in life, then you may be able to completely avoid developing osteoporosis during your lifetime.

What happens if you’re a man who has already been diagnosed with osteoporosis? Once you determine what the factors are, medication and testosterone therapy can help!

Osteoporosis in Men is More Common Than You’d Think

Despite what you may have heard, osteoporosis in men is more common than you’d think. And if you think that it can never happen to you, you’d be dead wrong. News flash: some of the most common signs of bone loss are a major drop in overall hormone levels, as well as a dramatic loss in height.

Sound like you? You might want to call a doctor as soon as possible, especially because being diagnosed with a disease that results in bone loss can be a red flag for osteoporosis too. And if you have a long family history of fractures and osteoporosis, then your chances of developing it are even higher.

How do you know that you even have osteoporosis? It’s simple: all you have to do is ask your physician to conduct a biochemical marker, blood calcium level, or 5-hydroxyvitamin D test. Once the results come in, your medical team will take it from there!

If you don’t want to take any risks, we suggest that you learn more about testosterone treatment. Schedule an appointment with us today!

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