Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medicines that have the exact properties as cortisol. Cortisol, for those who don’t know, is a hormone naturally produced by the body that has anti-inflammatory properties. Most commonly, corticosteroids are also termed as steroids. However, they are quite different from steroids that athletes sometimes use to enhance their performance. Corticosteroids are used to provide relief for inflamed parts of the body. This medication helps in easing itching, allergic reactions, redness, and different types of allergies. Moreover, these are also used to treat asthma and arthritis.

Types of Corticosteroids

There are different types of corticosteroids and these are available in different forms including inhalers, creams, ointments, pills, injections, nasal sprays, and liquid. Each form of corticosteroids is used for different conditions. For example, when there is inflammation in the stomach, you cannot use a cream but need a pill or tablet. Some corticosteroid medicines include prednisone, methylprednisolone, and cortisone, out of which prednisone is the most used.

Side Effects of Corticosteroids

As with other medications, corticosteroids have some side effects as well. While some side effects are minor in nature, others can be severe and may require medical attention. Some of the side effects are listed below:

  • Increased Appetite
  • Changes in Weight
  • Weakness in Muscles
  • Muscle Torsion
  • Easy Bruising
  • Weak Eyesight
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insomnia
  • Swelling
  • Frequent Urges to Urinate
  • Nervousness
  • Acne
  • Swollen Face, especially the eye region

These are some of the most common side effects of corticosteroids. All the possible side effects are not included and your case can be different from the one mentioned here. This is why it is always advisable to consult a doctor while discussing your personal situation. Furthermore, it is also worth pointing out that not all the patients using corticosteroids may not develop these side effects. The frequency of the side effects also varies from patient to patient. What more you need to know is that each type or form of corticosteroids have their own side effects and may differ from the ones mentioned here.

Benefits of Corticosteroids

There are different benefits of using corticosteroids. The patient may feel a lot of relief against pain, inflammation, and discomfort of different types of diseases and medical conditions. These are also suitable for children suffering from pain and especially asthma. If you discuss all the symptoms with your doctor and discuss all the conditions, you have a fair chance of minimizing the side effects and achieve all the benefits of corticosteroids.

How to Reduce the Risk of Side Effects of Corticosteroids?

Following are some ways using which you can reduce the risks of developing any side effects of corticosteroids.

  • Always try to take lower doses and do not make your body familiarize with corticosteroids.
  • Make sure you are taking corticosteroids with significant gaps.
  • Maintain a proper healthy diet and increase the amount of calcium and protein in your diet to avoid the risk of weakness and osteoporosis.
  • While discontinuing corticosteroids, try to do that gradually.

Corticosteroids can be very helpful for you if you take them in low dosage and after consultation with the doctor.

DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.