For example, if you are unwell or admitted to hospital for surgery. Other types of steroids are sex steroids and anabolic steroids. Health professionals who are not specialists in MS, including some GPs and A&E staff, may not realise that a high dose of steroids is needed to treat a relapse. If you are unable to contact your MS team, you may need to bring this to the attention of any health professional who offers you steroid treatment.

In general, the benefits of taking steroids during pregnancy are considered to outweigh any potential risks. Risks are higher if you take steroids repeatedly while pregnant, or for a long time. Your doctor will make sure you take them for the shortest possible time to get your disease back under control.

Corticosteroids, often known as steroids, are an anti-inflammatory medicine. You can also eat most foods while taking steroid tablets. Do not eat liquorice while taking prednisolone, however, as this can increase the amount of the medicine in your body. You may be given a special steroid treatment card that explains how you can reduce the risk of side effects.

Side effects of steroids

However, glucocorticoids have many other direct and indirect effects on the cardiovascular system, which could plausibly be detrimental. Our data cannot define these processes but highlight the need to address this important question with further research. Further research is needed into why glucocorticoids appear to have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system.

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Also, many people who use inhaled steroids for a long time need occasional courses of steroid tablets, which can cause bone loss. Clomid is the brand name for clomiphene which is SERM aka Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. It has been approved for use in the United States since 1967 and is prescribed to treat infertility in women who do not ovulate. When effective in this situation twins are also more likely.

A biologic medicine may also be an option if you cannot take steroids for some reason, or you do not get on with them. You can take steroids to control a Crohn’s or Colitis flare-up during pregnancy. Some research suggests that taking steroids when pregnant may also be linked with problems such as premature birth and lower birthweight.

What are the safest first steroid cycles?

Speak to your doctor or clinical nurse specialist for advice. They might recommend that you take your steroids first thing in the morning and can offer suggestions to help you get restful sleep. Although it can be upsetting to gain weight, continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Even low doses of steroids increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with inflammatory diseases

Children may also have steroids to help control a flare-up of Crohn’s or Colitis. If you need to take steroids longer-term, your doctor will also check for a serious disorder called adrenal suppression. For more information on this, see the section on Side effects.

Hair loss and acne are prominent complications, adds Dr Morrison. The only real difference between them is the balance of ‘androgenic’ and ‘anabolic’ effects. The former refers to male sexual characteristics – “pubic hair, genital development, greasy skin” – while the latter deals with building muscle tissue.

Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby. There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development. How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken.

But as the cigarette industry grimly continues to demonstrate, ‘common’ doesn’t mean ‘safe’. Unfortunately, many remain clueless about the side effects of steroids. We believe it is essential that people living with RA understand why certain medicines are used, when they are used and how they work to manage the condition.

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