The Dangers Of Steroid Medications & How They Affect Thyroid HealthAlthough my focus is to attempt to use natural treatment methods whenever possible, Thyroid hormone and corticosteroid realize there is a time and place for prescription drugs, as well as surgery, and other medical procedures. Sure, sometimes the medication they prescribe has steroid cream for poison ivy side effects, even if taken long term. On the other hand, other drugs they recommend to their patients can have severe implications if taken long term. Corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, fall under the latter category. In fact, even when taken for a short period of thyroid hormone and corticosteroid these drugs put a major strain on our bodies.
Steroid and Thyroid Hormones
Although my focus is to attempt to use natural treatment methods whenever possible, I realize there is a time and place for prescription drugs, as well as surgery, and other medical procedures. Sure, sometimes the medication they prescribe has minimal side effects, even if taken long term. On the other hand, other drugs they recommend to their patients can have severe implications if taken long term. Corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, fall under the latter category. In fact, even when taken for a short period of time these drugs put a major strain on our bodies.
And when taken over a period of many months or years, the consequences can be detrimental. Corticosteroids can affect many of the bodily systems, including the thyroid gland and adrenals. The way that corticosteroids can cause the development of hypothyroidism, or worsen it in individuals who already have this condition, is by reducing or stopping the secretion of TSH.
This in turn will result in a reduction of thyroid hormone in the body. So if someone is taking a drug such as Prednisone for a long period of time, it is possible this can lead to the development of hypothyroidism.
This is why fully evaluating each patient on an individual basis is important, as any good doctor needs to know which prescription drugs each of their patients are taking, as they can provide a lot of useful information as to why someone is experiencing certain symptoms. But because these drugs can potentially lead to hypothyroidism, as well as other conditions, it is extremely important to find out if someone is taking these drugs, as well as other medications which can affect the thyroid gland and endocrine system in general.
This is why it is important for any medical doctor to find out all of the medications, as well as any nutritional supplements and herbs their patients are taking. In addition to affecting the thyroid gland, corticosteroids also can affect the health of the adrenal glands.
The reason for this is because the adrenal glands secrete cortisol, which of course is a natural steroid hormone of the body. When someone takes corticosteroids, which are artificial steroid hormones, they compete with the natural steroid hormone cortisol, and therefore this suppresses the adrenal glands. Since this is a site that focuses on endocrine disorders, I mainly wanted to make you aware of the impact this drug can have on some of the main endocrine glands of the body.
And if all corticosteroids did was affect the thyroid and adrenal glands, this alone would be enough to justify avoiding these drugs whenever possible. But in addition to causing problems with the endocrine system, taking synthetic steroid hormones such as Prednisone can cause many other side effects, and lead to other conditions in the future. It can cause loss of calcium of the bone, leading to the development of osteoporosis, can cause menstrual problems, cataracts, can worsen diabetes, and can cause many other problems.
Once again, I realize that there are times when taking corticosteroids is necessary. Granted, if someone has a severe allergy, or is getting an organ transplant, then I can understand recommending corticosteroids. So in emergency situations, or if the person is having severe symptoms, then using corticosteroids for a short period of time is perfectly fine.
But in most cases you want to avoid long term use of corticosteroids in order to avoid developing the side effects and conditions mentioned above. In summary, steroid medication has some benefits, but there are also many risks involved, especially when taken over a long period of time. As usual, my goal is to simply let you know about some of the potential risks involved, so that you can make an informed decision.
It has been a very rocky road since then. Had a left thyroidectomy 2 years ago. Have been on 5mg of Prednisone for 18 years and am on other immunosuppressive drugs, Leflunomide and Plaquenil for 15 years. I am experiencing globs of fat on my hips that I never had before, and enlargement of breasts…2 cup sizes over last month.
Difficulty in thinking of words when speaking sentences, peripheral neuropathy is worse, especially in bilateral hands.. Carpal tunnel appeared 10 years ago. Muscle aching and bone pain worse.
No appetite with weight gain. Can immunosuppressive drugs cause the labs to be normal even when the symptoms are suggestive of hypothyroidism? You definitely have a lot going on, and hopefully you are working with a natural healthcare professional to help improve your overall health. However, they can decrease the thyroid antibodies, which in turn can affect the thyroid panel.
Hi Doc, my 18 year old son was put on two courses of prednisone in a month for pneumonia. Shortly after discontinuing the steroid he began sweating profusely while doing his normal baseball workouts. I mentioned this to his doc and he did blood work on his thyroid and T4 came back elevated at 2. He has been off the steroids for 3 months now. Do you think this could have damaged his thyroid and if so do you think it will be permanent? Thanks for your consideration!
Two weeks ago I suddenly began feeling pain and tenderness around my thyroid area. Although it has subsided somewhat, I still feel it, and visited an ENT doctor yesterday. I gave me a work up for blood work and a ultrasound, which I have yet to schedule. I came across your article because I had remembered that I did a course of corticosteroids in the beginning of June for treatment of eczema.
The eczema went away pretty quickly. The thyroid pain started probably weeks after my steroid course was completed. This was not a long term steroid treatment, but I wanted to see if you thought this one-time simple prescription could be the cause of my thyroid inflammation?
My autoimmune disease is not life threatening, however, corticosteroids are the only available treatment for Polymyalgia Rheumatica. There is no alternative. I have had many relapses, NSAIDs do not work for this disease and anybody who thinks they can control PMR without steroids soon realises that the only way to beat the pain and live relatively normally is with steroids. Naturally, the dose is tapered gradually, but most people have it for 3 or 5 years or more, many like myself suffer relapes particularly if they get a viral infection, undergo surgery or have a major crisis in their lives, and some people never recover from PMR.
It is a devastating disease and without steroids it is crippling. Of course there are side-effects but if one is careful about diet, exercise and plenty of rest they can be reduced. After 8 years on steroid treatment my bones are still strong.
A thyroid nodule was found during an MRI to check on my spine, and I am referred to see a specialist, but an endocrinologist friend read the US report and says I have nothing to worry about.
Thyroid nodules are common. Typically insurance does not cover this. Sometimes the body uses more hormone than normal.
This test will show if you are one of the small percent with this problem. If your regular MD refuses to do this for you then look for someone who practices Integrative Medicine.
They will be more open to it. Your email address will not be published. Corticosteroids Can Cause Or Worsen Hypothyroidism The way that corticosteroids can cause the development of hypothyroidism, or worsen it in individuals who already have this condition, is by reducing or stopping the secretion of TSH.
Comments Very interesting information! Hi Debra, You definitely have a lot going on, and hopefully you are working with a natural healthcare professional to help improve your overall health. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Get Your Free Page Guide: