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Old 01-05-2006, 06:25 PM   #1
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IllinoisGirl HB User
Wink The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

Hi all. I'm new here and when I'm new to a message board, I tend to start several threads in the beginning so bare with me.

This is not a question thread. It is abou the health problems some of us develope since we have to take steroid meds for those of you who have asthma and also suffer from it. I thought my experiences might be helpful to you.

I have acid reflux and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrom) and it took two years for me to get the proper diagnosis for the acid reflux. I never had heartburn so every time my chest would tighten up, I'd run to my asthma docs, they'd say my lungs were fine and it was "in my head". That went on for two years until the tightness got so bad, that I finally went to a cardiologist thinking it might be angina. He diagnosed me in less then two seconds when I started telling him about my chest tightness. The chest tightness was literally affecting my ability to breathe. It was GERD, not my asthma. (I was diagnosed with asthma at 13)

What caused this problem? Prednizone (the oral steroid med our asthma doctors loved to give us before inhaled steroids were available) Steroid medications as you know, if taken over time can cause many, many problems and side effects. The valve between my stomach and esophagus was not working properly after years of being on and off Prednizone and even the nasal inhaler Flonase. Acid was backing up and it was irritating my lungs along with my esophogus. Then my chest would get tight and that would mimic asthma symptoms making me think it was my lungs and nothing else. I found a gasteroenterologist and he put me on Prevacid. After a couple of years, I got my acid reflux under control and it's almost gone. I still have to be carefull with foods and things like that but my GERD is now doing very well.

I found a new doc years ago who put me on inhaled steroids (Pulmicort) but I've found that even inhaled steroids can cause problems. But when you have asthma, you have no choice. You have to be on a maintainence medication along with the fast acting beta agonist inhalers like Ventolin.

The other problem I developed was PCOS, a hormone disorder caused by little cysts developing on a woman's ovaries. It pumps out extra testosterone and can make our periods extremely painful. I had a partial hysterectomy last year to finally rid myself of the pain. I still have my ovaries but now my horrible cramps are gone. But, I notice every time I have to go back on my inhaled steroids or even Prednizone for a more sever flare up, my ovaries start to ache. So even though the cramps are gone, I'm going to have to just deal with the fact that my steroid meds are always going to affect me no matter how low the supposed "sistemic" effects are of these meds. It is our lot in life as asthmatics until one day, a new med besides steroids is developed.

If you are taking Prednizone and developing problems with it, ask your doc if he can wean you off of it and transfer you to inhaled steroids. They can still cause side effects but at least the medication is going directly into your lungs instead of circulating around your entire body. Inhaled steroids are much better then oral steroids.

If you are having chest tightness and you notice it gets worse after you eat something, but you're not experiencing heartburn, ask your doc about possible acid reflux symptoms.

If you are a woman and your periods are getting painful, check with your OB-GYN about PCOS or endometrosis.

Make sure ALL of your doctors know you have asthma if you are taking steroid meds. And make sure your asthma doctors know ALL of your other health problems, if you are seeing specialists for other disorders. You must keep all of your doctors in the loop about ALL of your symptoms. That's why my asthma doctors never diagnosed me with GERD. They were not aware that chest tightness can also be a symptom of GERD and not just athma. And unfortunatley, asthmatics are more suseptable to things like GERD and PCOS because of the fact that we've all been on steroid meds forever.

The other thing steroids can cause (among so many other problems) is chronic yeast infections, gum problems, and bone loss. That's why it's even more important to eat properly and get moderate exercise to help combat the long term side effects of steroid meds. Make sure you floss and get your teeth and gums checked every six months by your dentist. Try to avoid a diet high in sugars and processed foods to keep your blood sugar stable and keep the yeast lower in your system. Stay away from high yeast foods and alcohol.

Steroid meds can also mess up your blood sugar. That's happened to me. Always take your meds early in the morning after you get up because it helps to lessen the blow on your kidneys, pancreas and adrenal glands. Steroid meds can affect our hormnes over time and shrink the adrenal glands. So if you stay in better shape, this helps to combat these long term effects.

Over the counter meds like Prylosec are now available for GERD along with the prescriptions Prevacid and Nexium. But don't overdo it on those meds and take them all the time. Lowering your stomach acid all the time is not a good idea either. That can lead to lower resistance to certain bacteria in the upper part of your stomach and the stomach acid helps to keep that bacteria under control. You need your stomach acid for certain things as well. You just want to keep it under enough control so that it doesn't back up into your esophogus and irritate your lungs. Drink lots of water to dilute stomach acid. Never eat two to three hours before bed. Make sure to eat something after you take your steroid meds though. That will buffer your stomach.

Garlic helps the lungs and the digestive system. Aloe vera juice can calm down GERD symptoms. Fiber helps to keep your colon regular so that you don't have to take laxatives which can irritate the stomach. (if you suffer from constipation all the time like I do)


Anyway, hope some of this helps. If you are new to GERD or PCOS or other disorders that are related to our steroid med use, don't be afraid to ask me questions. I've been dealing with steroid meds for a long time. I'm not a doctor but as you all know, we know our own bodies better then our docs sometimes.

Last edited by IllinoisGirl; 01-05-2006 at 06:31 PM.

 
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:33 PM   #2
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lu55 HB User
Re: The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

Excellent post. I, as well, discovered how bad some asthma meds were for my body. I have bone loss, cataracts, GERD, thrush, etc. all from prednisone and/or inhaled steroids.

We do have a choice though. Glutathione, for e.g., is excellent for those with lung ailments. It is an amino acid and can be nebulized. Although it is not a pharmaceutical, you must have a prescription and get it at a compound pharmacy. Information is available online.

Lu

 
Old 01-07-2006, 02:57 AM   #3
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winston55 HB User
Re: The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

I am a 64 year old male. So far i have osteoporosis and cataracts from my asthma meds. I wonder what will be next.

 
Old 01-09-2006, 03:49 PM   #4
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chuzzlewit HB User
Re: The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by winston55
I am a 64 year old male. So far i have osteoporosis and cataracts from my asthma meds. I wonder what will be next.
Since cataracts and osteoporosis become common in older adults, how do you know you wouldn't have developed these anyway?

 
Old 01-11-2006, 03:32 PM   #5
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apriltones HB User
Re: The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

interesting¬¬ im on pulmicort! i have fibromylagia and anxiety! i take my inhaler every day but its a wheeze ib throat more than anything!
can pulnicort-steroid inhaler mess with hormone a then? mine feel all over place! my periods always late and i struggle to lose weight and are prone to bloating! xx

 
Old 01-13-2006, 01:13 AM   #6
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kirafaye HB User
Re: The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

Interesting...I am about to see an endocrinologist for my almost totally suspected PCOS. I was always a slow responder to prednisone so I was in for weeks in some cases.

 
Old 01-13-2006, 09:12 AM   #7
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apriltones HB User
Re: The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

oo know! hope you not got it! thats what im scared of! i was suspected when younger but didnt have any cysts! i have fibro so alot of symptoms the same xx

 
Old 01-16-2006, 12:25 PM   #8
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magickzzl HB User
Re: The lovely side effects of our steroid meds (GERD, PCOS, bone loss, etc, etc)

Just what I wanted to hear.. lol... I just discovered I had asthma bad enough to be on meds.... and I already had psysts... but was told just to "suck it up" and take my ibuprofin

 
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