The Side Effects of Steroids

There are many side effects due to the short term and long term use of steroids, and there are many different types of steroids as well. Some are oral, others injected and of course the ever important inhaled and nasal steroids typically used for those suffering with COPD and asthma.

Here are the negative side effects of short term oral and injected steroid use:

  • A marked increase in appetite

  • Difficulty sleeping due to Insomnia

  • Changes in behavior and mood

  • Flushing or redness of the face

  • Weight gain usually caused by water retention

Negative short term side effects of oral and injected steroid use in individuals with underlying medical conditions:

  • People with diabetes mellitus may notice increased blood sugar

  • People with high blood pressure may notice it is higher then usual

  • People suffering from Glaucoma may not higher pressure in their eyes

For this reason most people who have underlying medical conditions and diseases should be especially cautious when taking steroids.

The long term negative side effects of oral and injected steroid use:

  • Glaucoma which can lead to loss of vision due to a build up of pressure within the eyes

  • Cataracts which compromise vision

  • High blood pressure which can lead to stroke and heart attack

  • Diabetes mellitus which can cause kidney damage, coma, death and blindness

  • Obesity which can put a person at risk for other diseases and health complications

  • Acid Reflux and GERD or Gatroesophageal Reflux Disease which can cause painful heartburn as a result of built up stomach acids

  • Osteoporosis which puts you more at risk of breaking or fracturing your bones

  • Myopathy which is muscle weakness that can lead to muscular dystrophy

Then there are the nasal and inhaled steroids.

These are the negative side effects of nasal and inhaled steroid use:

  • Thrush a yeast infection of the mouth which can cause tongue irritation and sore throat

  • Osteoporosis which leads to bone breakage due to thinning of the bones

  • Mood changes

  • Weight gain which can lead to other serious health complications and diseases

  • Hoarseness of one’s voice

  • And in rare cases the development of Cushing Syndrome which causes a fat upper body and skinny arms and legs as well as a round red face and acne, skin infections, purple marks on the breasts and thighs, thin skin that bruises easily, fat shoulders, weak muscles, excessive hair growth, high blood pressure, bone pain, fatigue and even infertility.

One must also consider the possible negative psychological side effects such as:

  • Depression and erratic mood swings

  • Marked increase of aggressive behavior

  • Mania and paranoia

  • Psychosis which is a complete break of one’s sanity and a psychological departure from reality.

The positive effects of oral, injected, nasal and inhaled steroid use:

  • More muscle mass

  • Increase of energy and appetite

  • Can be useful in the treatment of severe burns

  • Can be useful in the repair of joints and broken bones

  • Can treat Anemia which is a deficiency of iron in the blood

  • Can treat Thrombosis which is the formation of potentially deadly blood clots

  • Can offer treatment of Endometriosis which causes infertility

  • Is vital in the treatment of individuals with HIV and AIDS in that it prevents them from succumb to wasting syndrome and chronic nutritional deficiencies

  • Can improve nitrogen balance in the body

  • Treats symptoms associating with asthma and COPD

In conclusion, the use of steroids can be thought of as safe and unsafe, with positive and negative effects, which are typically dependent on whether or not a person abuses them. If one takes oral, nasal, inhaled or injected steroids in a safe recommended manner, then usually the development of long lasting detrimental diseases and side effects are minimal.

If, however, one abuses oral and injected steroids for the use of athletic performance enhancement or any other irresponsible reason then one is considerably more at risk of developing long-term complications physical as well as mental.

So one should always use steroids safely and have them administered by a doctor or well informed professional.


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