What are Prednisone Side Effects in Women?
Prednisone might appear to you like the ultimate solution to every inflammatory issue you face. Then again, it is always advised to avoid Prednisone treatment as it can have side effects in your body as well. Women should be extra careful when opting for Prednisone treatment. Prednisone is a Corticosteroid, which is nothing but an artificial hormone and women already go through several hormonal changes in their lives, therefore, their body is likely to take additional influx sportingly. Prednisone side effects in women can seriously affect their reproductive health amongst other common Prednisone side effects that anyone under prednisone treatment can face.
In this post, we are going to take you through Prednisone side effects in women and how dangerous they can be. So, read along to know what Prednisone is and how it can adversely affect women’s health.
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What is Prednisone?
Prednisone is a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids are man-made hormones. These hormones perform the functions of cortisol. Cortisol is produced in the human body naturally by adrenal glands. Cortisol is the very hormone which fuels your body, controls inflammation, regulated blood pressure, increases blood sugar, helps you fight stress, and controls your sleeping cycle. Prednisone is one way in which extra Cortisol is artificially introduced to your body.
Prednisone is not an anabolic steroid which is consumed for muscle gain. It is an anti-inflammatory drug which keeps inflammation in check and weakens the immune system in order to fight certain disorders. Prednisone is an oral drug which is available as the solution, immediate-release tablet, and delayed-release tablet. Your healthcare professional might prescribe Prednisone to deal with the following issues:
- Severe allergies or redness.
- Asthma and other breathing disorders.
- Systematic Lupus
- Severe Psoriasis
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Idiopathic Thrombocytosis Purpura
Precautions When Opting for Prednisone Treatment
Prednisone is a steroid, therefore, it is important to stick to the doctor’s prescription when it comes to the doses.
If you happen to miss a dose, and it is already time for the next dose, skip it. Yes, one should never double up the dose to compensate for the missed one.
Going for live vaccination, when on Prednisone is a bad idea.
Do not hide any past medical history of diseases or fungal infection from your doctor who is about to prescribe you the drug.
Always carry the card given to you by the doctors that you are on steroid treatment to help facilitate further medication and avoid risks.
Prednisone Side Effects in Women
Prolonged use of Prednisone can lead to dire side effects in women because they go through several hormonal changes in their lifetime. Some of these severe Prednisone side effects in women are listed below.
- Osteoporosis. Referred to as Steroid Osteoporosis by doctors, 10-30% bone-loss in people under Prednisone treatment is a common but severe side effect of this drug. Women are already prone to having weak bones as they grow older, Prednisone can make it worse in some cases. Does prednisone make you tired? Yes, due to the weakening of bones, you are bound to feel tired more often if you are on Prednisone. This Prednisone side effect in women is usually the result of the use of this drug over several years. Doesn’t matter if you are on Prednisone for back pain or more severe issues like arthritis, it can have a visible impact on your bones. You can deal with this side effect from the very beginning of the treatment by going for a calcium-rich diet and living an active lifestyle. (1)
- Hirsutism. A very common Prednisone reaction. It is the condition in which women can face excessive hair growth. Facial hair is known to fall out as the dose is reduced, but irregularity in periods and release of male hormone- testosterone in the body is a serious issue. This is one of the most dreaded Prednisone side effects in women which can be dealt with by weight management and stress management.
- The weakening of immune system. Though it is very explicit that Prednisone is an immune-suppressant, it is more than often difficult to deter the degree of this side effect. Sometimes, Prednisone intake can be as dire to the immune system as HIV. Yes, it makes your immune system very weak and takes away your capability to deal with certain communicable diseases. It is one long-term effect of Prednisone which can leave you with a deadly disease. (2)
- Prednisone and Weight Gain. When you’re on Prednisone for a long period of time, it can have severe implications for your appearance. Major changes are an accumulation of fat in the abdominal region and facial hair growth. Cushing’s disease is an undesired issue which might crop up in your body due to prolonged consumption of Prednisone. It causes rounding of the face, hump on the upper back, and sudden weight gain. This prednisone side effect in women might or might not go away as you stop the prescription.
- Diabetes. Long-term consumption of Prednisone can lead to a serious imbalance in the blood sugar level of a person. A major number of patients who have been on a prednisone prescription for a prolonged period have become permanent diabetics. Even when patients are on Prednisone, they have to check their blood sugar level 3-4 times a day and sometimes, they have to succumb to insulin as well.
- Prednisone Insomnia. Many patients come to the doctors with the inability to sleep and hypertension when on Prednisone. Prednisone does have a notable impact of the moods of a person because it is an artificial hormone which disturbs the natural hormonal balance of the body. A prednisone headache, depression, irritability, and insomnia are some common prednisone reactions.
- Fungal Infections and Allergic Reactions. Fungal infections and allergic reactions are two prednisone side effects in women which depend upon for how long the treatment is taken and the strength of the dose. Allergic reactions to prednisone can be avoided by taking antibiotics along with the drug, as prescribed by your healthcare professional.
- Cataract and other eye infections. Prolonged consumption of Prednisone can affect the eyes as well. It can weaken the vision, make it blurry, and can also cause an ache in the eyes. Cataract and seeing halos around a light source are some prednisone side effects in women which require immediate medical attention.(3)
- Acne and Easy Bruising. Even the consumption of Prednisone in smaller doses can take a toll on your skin. Acne is a common result of the hormonal imbalance caused by this corticosteroid. Apart from acne, Prednisone can make your skin thick and more prone to bruising.
Prednisone and Pregnancy
It is very important to discuss the prednisone side effects in women who are expecting or are planning to have a baby. Here are a few risks associated with going for prednisone treatment during pregnancy:
- It can severely impact the fetus and can impair its development. Therefore, it is a bad idea to go for prednisone in the first trimester.
- It is often known that the infants of the mothers who are on prednisone get affected physically and mentally. These kids do not turn out as tall and might even lack proper mental development.
- Even the moms who are breastfeeding should avoid the Prednisone treatment if it can be avoided. As the drug is indirectly consumed by the baby through breastmilk. Which, again, might lead to low physical and mental development of the child.
Women’s reproductive cycle is itself a very complicated process and if that is left vulnerable to side effects of this corticosteroid, the health of the child can get severely affected. Therefore, women should weigh all the risks and consequences of Prednisone intake before going for the treatment.
Does Prednisone make you gain Weight?
Yes, as discussed above in the long-term effects of prednisone, it does make you gain weight. A sudden increase in appetite is a common side effect of Prednisone intake. This side effect takes an ugly turn as all the fat that you consume during the course of the therapy is unevenly distributed in the body. This leads to a drastic change in your body shape and the fat accumulates in the abdominal region. The metabolism of the body is also affected by Prednisone.
Prednisone weight loss is a major query of the patients who have been under prednisone treatment for long and even after the treatment is over, they are suffering to get rid of the weight that has increased. It is easy to keep inflammation in check with Prednisone but increased calorie consumption, decreased physical activity, and fluid retention are Prednisone side effects in women, which you might not like.
Back of the neck, face, and abdomen are the problem areas which need to be worked on. Here are some ways you can deal with this unwanted weight:
- Avoid intake of sodium and increase the intake of potassium to help your body in dealing with fluid retention.
- Your appetite might induce you to consume more calories, but the best way to deal with weight is self-control. Reduce the intake of calories. Reduce the intake of simple sugars and go for complex sugars to keep metabolism in shape. Take several small meals every once in a while rather than eating large meals.
- Exercise regularly or start a fitness regimen with your doctor’s advice to deal with the access weight.
In some cases, as that of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the weight loss is a problem. Therefore, the weight gained by Prednisone intake is helpful.