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‘Is my testosterone level the reason for my colon disease?’

‘Is my testosterone level the reason for my colon disease?’

David, 59, was diagnosed recently with collagenous colitis, an inflammation of the colon that causes loose, watery bowel movements. The condition is more common among older women, but some older men can get it too. David is wondering if his testosterone levels might have anything to do with why he has contracted this condition.

My Advice:

David, there’s no direct connection between testosterone levels and collagenous colitis.  The cause of this condition is not well understood, though certain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin and ibuprofen, have been linked to it. I understand you were taking steroids at one point to reduce some swelling and that you were also taking supplements, including vitamin E, C, fish oil and aspirin.  It’s possible these may have contributed to the condition.

Your doctor has probably already made some suggestions for dietary changes that may help resolve your symptoms, such as eating low-fiber foods and avoiding beverages high in sugar or that contain alcohol or caffeine.  Often the symptoms will resolve on their own with this kind of change.  You can slowly return to higher-fiber foods once you’re feeling better.

Now, even though your testosterone levels do not cause collagenous colitis, it could be that the colitis could affect your testosterone levels.  Getting up to go to the bathroom at odd hours may disrupt your sleep—and men make testosterone at night during one phase of sleep.  Also, frequent diarrhea can cause your testosterone levels to drop. So I suggest you get your testosterone checked. If it is low, there are a lot of treatments available for you. Increasing your testosterone may increase your stamina, which may help you recover from the colitis.

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