When being treated for colitis symptoms it is the norm to be prescribed steroids. These are powerful drugs used for the reduction of inflammation that is present in the large colon during the period of a flare up plus they also have the effect of suppressing the body's immune system. Whilst they are an effective treatment, the patient requires being aware of their effects on the body.
The use of steroids will be prescribed where the patient is suffering from moderate-to-severe colitis symptoms. It is important to realise and accept that there are no benefits to be had by the continual use of them as a form of maintaining periods of remission and thus the sufferer of colitis must be weaned off their use as soon as practically possible. They are either applied by way of an enema which has the benefit of ensuring the steroid, in this instance such as foam, gets to work on the inflammation immediately and has less influence on the rest of the body, or taken by mouth in the form of tablets several times per day.
To start with, the prescribed amount will be high so that the steroids strength can be built up rapidly in order to start the process of reducing the ulceration found on the colon walls and tempering the inflammation. Once this can be achieved, the symptoms will then start to subside. Once this has been achieved, the prescribed dosage will then be gradually reduced until the symptoms, such as bloodied stools and diarrhea have appeared to stop. Once this point is reached, the sufferer should not presume that all is well again and the use of the steroids can be ceased. The course of the medication requires to be finished and this can take up to two months after the symptoms have calmed down in order to be safely weaned off the medication and to ensure that the inflammation has been effectively reduced.
It is common knowledge that with the use of steroids, there is a risk of encountering side effects. This risk has to be balanced against the effective role that they play in bringing a colitis attack under control and achieving good health again. The short term side effects that will undoubtedly happen include gaining of weight, nausea, sleep loss, mood swings including perhaps coming over as irrational. Some longer term effects which do happen when suffering from a colitis attack include "mooning" of the face, appearance of acne, sweating, and distinctive change in personality. There are also conditions such as increased blood pressure and osteoporosis that should be looked out for if the prescribed medication is used for long periods then repeated as such over a period of years.
It is without doubt that the use of steroids for the effective reduction of colitis symptoms does bring benefits to the sufferer yet there does require being an awareness of the consequences of taking such medication. What drawbacks that can happen are, though, a small price to pay in order to bring welcome relief when faced with all that a colitis attack can throw at those that have been diagnosed with the disease.