Recently I had what doctors call an MS Relapse. The protocol for getting my inflamed nerves back on track so I can keep walking is to put me in hospital for steroid infusion.
I always have a horrible time with these but in the long run they help. I get diabetes and get insulin shots after I eat although I am not a diabetic. My high blood pressure skyrockets so much, it mimics stroke conditions. The rash and breakouts on my skin are super horrible.
The drama is real……
My favorite side effect of steroid use is the constipation and inability to taste food. Hate that so, so much!
So, I had to admit I really do not know much about steroids and why they are used.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are a class of synthetic drugs designed to replicate the effects of naturally occurring hormones within the body. They are prescribed for a variety of conditions and are often used to treat the inflammation of muscles, joints and blood vessels. This is just why I needed them this pass week.
The main types of steroids for inflammation are known as corticosteroids, hydrocortisone and prednisone. They can be given orally (by mouth), topically, by way of injection or inhaler. These are not anabolic steroids that bodybuilders’ use to enhance their muscle development.
I was given Solumedrol which is a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory properties. My MS is an auto-immune disorder and the inflamed brain stem gets damaged and needs help to transmit messages to other parts of the body.
I was experiencing stiffness, very hard to walk, numbness, headaches, spasms, confusion, etc.
Yes, these drugs wreak havoc on the body but they do help in long run.
We don’t think too much about the treatment of minor inflammation with topical steroids. Those little Hydrocortisone gels, creams, ointments we rub on our skin for insect bites, allergies, eczema, etc. They are all over-the-counter in every store these days.
However, they have less than 1 percent of the chemical in them.
Why Use Steroids?
After I did tons of reading, I just wanted my brain to relax and understand the simple, beneficial things elements first and why these synthetic hormones benefit us. That would help me know why they are used.
The definition of the word helped me tremendously. I remember way back in high school how important biolology was too me in understanding nature.
Steroids include many biologically important compounds, including cholesterol and other sterols, the sex hormones (such as testosterone and estrogen), bile acids, adrenal hormones, plant alkaloids, and certain forms of vitamins.
I am no expert but the positive benefits that natural steroids have on the body is quite intriguing.
What I gathered is we humans and I assume plant and animal life have natural hormonal organic compounds in our bodies naturally.
I can see why small amounts these synthetic hormones may also have certain health benefits. It kind of makes sense.
I read how it can be used to prevent swelling of organs such as the kidneys. There are muscle wasting diseases like muscular dystrophy. My grandmother used them to improve her bone density after she was diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Seems like this is mainstream group or type of steroids the FDA approves in treatment of cancer. Don’t forget, steroids are chemicals ordinarily produced in our bodies by endocrine glands, which play an important role in regulating bodily functions. Some of these include the:
- Regulation of water and salt content of the body
- Regulation of body temperature
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins
- Regulation of inflammation
- Responding to infection
- Regulation of stress response
When our bodies are stressed—whether physically or emotionally—a signal is sent to the pituitary gland, a small endocrine gland in the brain. The pituitary gland sends out a hormone.
This hormone gland releases Cortisol which is a natural steroid.
I had no idea how this little part of nature in us manages a large part of stresses in our bodies. It can reduce inflammation, control hypertension, alter blood sugar, attack infection, and more. Wow!
No wonder pharmaceutical companies produce synthetic steroids that copycat cortisol.
I am reading about some of these benefits for women with breast cancer now. I lost my beloved sister Lydia to breast cancer.
The need for more information lead me to research some alternative treatment for steroids. Only because I need to see what else is out there for me. I can’t undermine the benefits of these chemicals but if can find something better why not.
The depression that I suffer from with steroids kills my sense of self-worth and my confidence level.
It is very troublesome for me because I try to be jovial and happy and this saps my spirit!
I have to flush theses out of me quickly. Increasing my fluid intake is going to be intense now.
The psychological side effects of corticosteroids can range from irritability, restlessness, and anger all the way to paranoia, confusion, and mania. Conversely, it is not uncommon to have a low mood or even severe depression after you discontinue these medications.
This is what I found and I am trying a little now.
There are few natural alternatives to man-made chemical steroids which are safe and effective. These natural sources are herbal and include:
- Tribulis Terrestris
Many of these herbs are used in natural steroidal formulas on the shelves of health food stores.
Interestingly, my great-grandmother used to give us sarsaparilla tea most evenings.
The most impressive health benefits of sarsaparilla include its ability to have anti-cancer potential, reduce inflammation, help in weight loss, boost the immune system, alleviate skin conditions, increase libido, and relieve stomach issues.
Your life is yours. Cherish it and as far as possible invest in your health. Knowledge is powerful and it can be used to sustain a good sense of well-being. No one is completely perfect so we need to prevent all the illnesses and accidents when we are able.
Life is hard enough and we know how not to make it harder. Eat better, drink better. Sleep more, laugh more, delete all the toxic angry friends and relatives from your space. Inner peace improves our health.
A calm heart gives life to the body. Proverbs 14:30