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Crohn's Disease Patients May Have Low Sex Hormone Levels.

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Low levels of sex hormones are common in patients with long-standing Crohn's disease, Canadian researchers have found.

The low levels cannot entirely be explained by corticosteroid therapy, said Dr. Clarence K.W. Wong of the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Sex hormones modulate both immune response and bone metabolism. Hypogonadism may help explain why patients with Crohn's disease have an increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis, Dr. Wong said in an interview at a Pan American meeting on gastroenterology and endoscopy.

He and his associates recruited from an outpatient clinic 129 consecutive patients with Crohn's disease.

The investigators excluded patients with primary hypogonadism, surgical gonadectomy, and medical conditions such as anorexia nervosa, hypothyroidism, and hypopituitarism that could lead to hypogonadism.

They also excluded patients with a known bone disorder.

Twenty-one of the 73 women had estradiol levels below 100 pmol/L (normal midcycle level is 367-1468 pmol/L). Eighteen of these 21 women were premenopausal.

Their average age was 34 years, and their average duration of Crohn's disease was 12 years.

Four of the 18 premenopausal women with low estradiol levels had not taken corticosteroids within the previous year, Dr. Wong said.

Six of the 56 men in the study had total testosterone levels below 8 nmol/L (normal level is 6.7-28.9 nmol/L). The average age of these six men was 49 years, and their average duration of Crohn's disease was 16 years. Four of these six men had not received corticosteroids within the previous year.

The investigators are assessing the cohort's bone mineral status and investigating the potential benefits of hormone therapy.
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Publication:OB GYN News
Date:Nov 1, 1999
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