Men Suffer From Osteoporosis Too

Medical experts say that men may avoid clinical treatment for disorders they feel are ‘unmasculine’.

What do men have in common? They all suffer from illnesses typically thought of as “women’s diseases”. Breast cancer, osteoporosis, and eating disorders all occur in men too, it is just that their prevalence is much greater in the female population.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that happens when the body loses an excessive amount of bone, makes insufficient bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” Viewed under a microscope, healthy bone seems like a honeycomb. When osteoporosis symptoms occur, the holes and spaces within the honeycomb are much larger than in healthy bone. Osteoporotic bones have lost density or mass and contain abnormal tissue structure. As bones diminish densely, they weaken and are more likely to break. If you’re 50 or older and have broken a bone, ask your doctor or healthcare provider about a bone density test.

Can Men Suffer From Osteoporosis?

Women are four times more prone to get the brittle-bone osteoporosis than men, but men have osteoporosis too. Yet for them, it generally comes a bit later in life. By age 70, men catch up to women in the rate they lose bone.

Osteoporosis treatment and symtoms in men

Since men will tend to be older when they get osteoporosis symptoms, the complications from broken bones can be increasingly serious for them. Most often hip, spine, and wrist bones break.

What Causes Osteoporosis In Men?

There are many risk factors that increase your chances of having osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Fractures Increases With Age

However, women over the age of 50 or postmenopausal women have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis symptoms. Women undergo rapid bone loss in the first 10 years after entering menopause, because menopause slows the production of estrogen, a hormone that protects against excessive bone loss.

But age and osteoporosis symptoms affect men too. You may be surprised to know that men over the age of 50 years are bound to have an osteoporosis-induced bone break than to get prostate cancer. Around 80,000 men for each year are expected to break a hip, and men are more likely than women to die in the year after a hip fracture.

Bone Structure and Body Weight

Thin and petite men have a more serious risk of having osteoporosis symptoms since they have less bone to lose than people with more bodyweight.

Family History

If your parents or grandparents have had any osteoporosis symptoms, for example, a broken hip after a minor fall, you may have a more serious risk of having this disease.

Eating Habits and Lifestyle

You are more likely to have osteoporosis symptoms if your body does not have enough calcium and vitamin D.

People who lead sedentary (inactive) lifestyles have a higher risk of osteoporosis.

Tobacco and Alcohol Indulgence

Smoking or having two drinks a day (or more) increases the risk of osteoporosis symptoms.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Several nutrients, including amino acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins D and K, are important for bone health. Diseases of the stomach and intestines can lead to bone disease when they impair the absorption of these nutrients. In such cases, treatment for bone loss may include taking supplements to replenish these nutrients.


Hypercalciuria is a disorder that causes too much calcium to be lost through the urine, which makes the calcium unavailable for building bone. Patients with hypercalciuria should talk to their doctor about having a bone mineral density (BMD) test and, if bone density is low, discuss osteoporosis treatment options.

How Is Osteoporosis Diagnosed In Men?

Osteoporosis treatment can be effectively performed before significant bone loss has happened. A clinical workup to diagnose osteoporosis can include a total medical history, x-rays, and urine and blood tests. A bone mineral density test is also taken. This test can identify osteoporosis, determine your risk for fractures, and measure your reaction to osteoporosis treatment.

The most well-known BMD test is termed as a central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or central DXA test. It is painless– somewhat like having an x-ray, however with significantly less exposure to radiation. It is useful in measuring bone density at your hip and spine.

Also Read: Yoga : An effective way to prevent osteoporosis

Why Is Osteoporosis An Important Public Health Issue?

  • In the U.S., 44 million people have a low bone density. This amounts to 55% of the U.S. population aged 50 years and older.
  • In the U.S., direct health care costs from osteoporosis fractures amount to a billion dollars, without even taking into account the indirect costs, such as lost days at work and productivity.
  • Approximately 20% of those who experience a hip fracture will die in the year following the fracture.
  • One-third of hip-fracture patients are discharged to a nursing home within the year after fracture.
  • Only one-third of hip-fracture patients regain their pre-fracture level of function.
  • About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis symptoms. Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis Symptoms

There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you might have  the following osteoporosis symptoms:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture
  • A bone that breaks much more easily than expected

Osteoporosis Treatment For Men

Lifestyle Recommendations For Men

  • Stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake to less than three drinks per day.
  • Participate in weight-bearing activities for 30–40 min per session, three to four sessions per week.
  • Consume 1,000–1,200 mg calcium daily, ideally from dietary sources, with calcium supplements added if dietary calcium is insufficient.
  • If vitamin D levels are low (<30 ng/ml), take vitamin D supplements to achieve blood 25(OH)D levels of at least 30 ng/ml.

Pharmacologic Therapy for Men with Osteoporosis 

FDA-approved drugs for osteoporosis treatment for men:

• Bisphosphonates: alendronate, risedronate, and zoledronic acid (ibandronate is not approved for men)

• Denosumab: a human monoclonal anti-RANK ligand antibody (for men with osteoporosis symptoms or receiving ADT for prostate cancer)

• Teriparatide: recombinant human parathyroid hormone 1-34.

Calcium Intake

Men and women between the ages of 18 and 50 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium intake daily. This daily amount increases to 1,200 milligrams when women turn 50 and men turn 70.

Some good sources of calcium:

  • Low-fat dairy items
  • Green vegetables
  • Canned salmon or sardines with bones
  • Soy products, for example, tofu
  • Calcium-fortified oats and orange juice


A good exercise routine can help you in building stronger bones and slow bone loss. Exercise will benefit your bones regardless of when you start, but you will gain the most if you begin exercising regularly when you are young and keep on maintaining a good workout schedule throughout your life.

Combine strength training exercises with weight-bearing and balance exercises. Strength training helps in strengthening muscles and bones in your arms and upper spine. Weight-bearing activities —for example, walking, running, jogging, stair climbing, skipping rope, skiing, and impact-producing sports — affect mostly the bones in your legs, hips, and lower spine. Balance activities, for example, tai chi can lessen your chances of falling especially as you get older.

Swimming, cycling, and exercising on machines, such as elliptical trainers can give a good cardiovascular workout, however, they do not help in improving bone health.

So, if you have the osteoporosis symptoms mentioned above or are not sure, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to get the best advice.


Photo of author

Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.