Medical steroids or corticosteroids are a type of prescription medication used to eliminate swelling in arthritis and asthma patients, as well as to treat allergic reactions. While patients receive relief from pain, inflammation and other symptoms while taking medical steroids, some develop side effects as well.
The most common side effects of corticosteroids include increased appetite, weight gain and indigestion, according to the Mayo Clinic. Increased hair growth, insomnia and mood swings are also frequently reported, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Side effects of medical steroids are more likely with higher doses and prolonged usage, according to John Hopkins University.
Corticosteroids have the potential to complicate or increase the symptoms of a number of conditions, including glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes and hypertension. If you have a history of these problems, your doctor is likely to monitor you closely when the use of medical steroids is necessary.
Corticosteroids suppress your adrenal system, which helps your body manage physical stress. If you suffer an accident or contract a serious illness, it is possible to develop hypotension, loss of appetite, dehydration, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, according to Penn State University.
The use of medical steroids contributes to the onset of conditions that affect the bones, such as osteoporosis (loss of bone density) and aseptic necrosis (death of bone cells), according to the Hospital for Special Surgery. There is also a risk for gastrointestinal ulceration or bleeding associated with medical steroid use.