When diagnosed with colitis, the sufferer has to accept that there will be periods when flare ups occur, these being sometimes mild other times perhaps severe, where the amount of and dosage medication has to be increased. Steroids are a medication that will be introduced during such times as they are acknowledged as the most effective method to counter inflamed colitis symptoms.
Steroids are used to suppress the inflammation that is present in the large colon during a flare up and are usually very effective. The treatment prescribed usually is for a high dosage to begin with in order that the medication can start to reduce the intensity and increasing strength of the inflammation. Once the symptoms are brought under control, the use of steroids will be monitored but this does not mean that they can quickly stopped being taken. The dosage is then slowly reduced when remission is gained though this can last several months before the dosage is finally stopped. Even if the sufferer is feeling well again, there can be a tendency to stop taking the medication and not finish the course but this is not recommended.
It is an acknowledged fact that the human body will quickly start to become dependent upon the dosage of steroids that are taken on a daily basis. The result of this is that there must not be a sudden stoppage of taking steroids but a slow reduction of the dose as mentioned previously so that the body can adapt to this withdrawal. The vast majority of colitis sufferers will no longer require steroids once all the inflammation has reduced and they are back to remission health, though there are a small number who experience further symptoms as soon as the medication is stopped. This situation can be the result of the attack being more severe and thus a continual need to take steriods is required to ensure that the effects of the disease are contained and managed as best as possible.
It will come as no surprise that such a powerful drug can cuase side effects even. These include weight gain, increased hormonal levels, irritability, mood swings, a mooning of the face, fluid retention and fatigue which will slowly reduce once the dosage is starts to reduce then stopped. There are cases where the medication has to be taken for a longer period and possible further side effects include osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and cataracts in the eyes.
The medication can either be given in tablet form or where an enema or suppository is used which can have the benefits of reduced side effects because the steroid is being administered directly onto the inflammation such as the areas of the rectum and end part of the colon if colitis is just restricted to these parts. Where the case is more severe and admission to hospital is required, greater strength steriods are administered through the use of injection directly into the vein.
When colitis symptoms do appear, it is essential that the medication used for periods of attack are bolstered in order to start fighting what can be a very debilitating disease. Whilst steroids do have side effects, their acknowledged ability to assist in the control then reduction in the inflammation is still the most effective use of medication for colitis sufferers and their use should not be rejected out of hand.
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