Home > Teens > Teen Health and Safety > Sports > Side Effects of Steroids
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Side Effects of Steroids

Pediatrics Expert Advice from Henry Bernstein, M.D.

Q: Why do patients who take steroid hormones frequently retain large amounts of water?

A: The body naturally makes its own steroids. These influence how our body systems physically operate and how certain glands/hormones function, such as blood pressure and glucose (sugar) metabolism. As you point out, when extra steroids are used, one of the side effects may be to cause our body to handle water differently and to hold onto it more (fluid retention).

This family of drugs is an important group of medicines prescribed frequently by physicians to treat many diseases and conditions. For example, steroids have been extremely beneficial in treating asthma. They are most widely used to reduce inflammation and to influence the immune system. Steroids are given in various ways such as by mouth (pills or liquid), injection (as a shot in the muscle), intravenous (directly into a vein), topical (on the skin), inhalation (into the lungs), and drops (in the eyes).

They can have significant side effects, which depend on which type of steroid is used, how much is used, for how long, when in the day they are taken, and the age of the patient. Some of the side effects include an increased amount of sugar in the blood, ulcers, increased appetite, weight gain, high blood pressure, and fluid retention. If someone takes them a long time, it can also negatively affect the eyes, heart, growth, bones, and ability to fight infection. Although the benefits of properly used steroids far outweigh the side effects, it is critical to monitor anyone using them closely.

More on: Expert Advice

Henry Bernstein, M.D., is currently the associate chief of the Division of General Pediatrics and director of Primary Care at Children's Hospital, Boston. He also has an academic appointment at Harvard Medical School.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!