Sneaky Steroids

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: Is it true that some health/vitamin supplements can actually have steroids and do not disclose them on the ingredients? How in the world is that possible?

Answer 1: YES! I, Suhein Beck, the author can personally attest to being a victim of this exact scenario myself. Oh the irony, right? I know. Almost silly. And it happened smack-dab in the middle of my 10-year research of steroids and I found myself accidentally addicted and debilitated from them.

Question 2: Did you actually have to go through steroid withdrawal?

Answer 2: YES! In looking back, I am grateful that I experienced the parallel universe to my topical steroid withdrawal community of friends so that I can more fully appreciate the symptoms, the process of weaning off steroids and of course, the emotional resentment of being tricked into taking them unknowingly!  Here is my crazy story:

Long before writing a book about TOPICAL STEROID SIDE EFFECTS,  I had been on a personal mission to raise global awareness about the side effects of steroids for 10 years. I am not exaggerating when I say I’ve been shamelessly singing and dancing about this topic in front of strangers, friends and family, in person, and all over Facebook, YouTube! I even produced a music video with the same name as this book.

“The incredible irony is that I had no idea I was taking steroids and had become addicted while I was preaching about them on my soapbox!”

It all started while I was working at the street fair in Palm Desert, California selling my ELAJ skincare products. Due to the nature of the very physical work that entailed setting up and taking down tents, tables and a virtual store every Saturday and Sunday in extreme weather conditions from 29 degrees to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, our bodies take a beating in that tough entrepreneurial lifestyle.

That’s where I began hearing about this natural herbal supplement from Mexico called, Reumofan. It started with Nina, who mentioned it to Cathie, who ran it by me because of my rudimentary knowledge of Spanish. I carefully reviewed, translated, and approved the ingredients that included glucosamine and curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory herb from turmeric root along with ginger root and other well-known immune boosters. I reported back to my friends that it seemed to be ok, so we all started taking the supplement.

Within days, the creaking knees, squeaking hips, shoulders, and my own painful carpal tunnel syndrome all quieted down and we were all amazed at how easy this miraculous Reumofan was to our stomachs and eliminated the need for dangerous pain-killers and other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). We were thrilled, to say the least! We couldn’t believe how all of us had experienced such great results so quickly.

I started to make more frequent trips to Mexico to purchase more for myself, husband, mother, extended family as well as other vendors. Word spread fast. Without exception, we were all enjoying the benefits. Not one of us had any suspicion there could be any hidden, undisclosed ingredients. I should have known better. I was the one researching steroids and yet, here there they were, literally right under my nose! I was warning customers about steroidal side effects every day, yet it never occurred to me that I was smack-dab in the middle of my own steroid crisis in the making…

A year later, my mother noticed I was pulling over and taking power naps in my car more frequently. I was huffing and puffing just walking up the stairs at home. My pulse was racing and I would get dizzy.  I was insatiably hungry and thirsty all the time. I was waking up 5-7 x per night to go to the bathroom which completely disrupted my sleep. I’ve always been able to keep my weight steady, but suddenly gained an extra 15-20 lbs. My front hairline was thinning before my eyes! I started feeling my blood sugar spiking and blood pressure dropping. I had extreme brain fog. My kids were worried that I couldn’t remember recent conversations with them. My husband was frustrated that I was too tired to enjoy intimate relations. The list goes on… I wrote it all off as pre-menopausal symptoms.

Then one day, Nina told Cathie who came back to me and said something about the FDA issuing a warning about an investigation about our beloved savior, Reumofan! We were all in denial and wanted to shame-blame the FDA for being critical of a natural supplement that was foreign-made that was getting too popular, and perhaps chiseling away at pharmaceutical drug profits. We automatically assumed the FDA was protecting the interests of the major drug companies that produce anti-inflammatory prescription drugs like Enbrel and Humira.

We were wrong. My conscience drove me the 2 hours down from Orange County, California to Tijuana, Mexico to talk to the pharmacists that I trusted. They confirmed my worst fears. They said the company that manufactured Reumofan, Riger Naturals had either disappeared or had been shut down by the government. They didn’t know which happened first. But that other “imitations” were now popping up with similar names to fill the demand and the huge void that the mysteriously vanished manufacturers of Reumofan left behind.

Dumbfounded, I walked away and couldn’t believe my ears. Maybe my Spanish was rusty and not translating correctly? I went to another pharmacy that spoke English. They confirmed it all. I don’t remember how I crossed over the border that evening and drove back. I was so ashamed. I started to count how many people I had referred this over-the-counter all-natural supplement to in the span of 1-2 years. I had to issue an un-official recall and text, email and phone each person and apologize with the devastating news. ME! How could this happen to ME?!? I was the one everyone trusted to translate and to be their medical advocate. Here I was a victim and corroborator of a shoddy medical scam.

To my surprise, some of the reactions were even more shocking. Cathie said she did not care if it had steroids or not, the fact that they worked was good enough for her to continue. I couldn’t believe my ears. Then she explained that she was almost 70 years old and whatever the side effects were, didn’t matter compared to her being able to regain mobility, because she didn’t want to have a knee replacement surgery. The side effects of not walking were worse than taking them and gaining some weight.

Some others stopped taking Reumofan immediately. Some continued on and off when they were desperate for joint pain relief. Meanwhile, I made sure my entire family stopped taking them. We all went through different stages and severity of withdrawal. My husband slowly weaned off of them. My mother and I both stopped cold-turkey (which I don’t recommend without careful medical supervision.)  Her joints went into severe pain and swelling. Not sure if this created a domino effect but she soon after had a severe case of gout at that same time.  Of course, she was automatically administered injectable steroids at the hospital which helped give some longer-term relief but nevertheless, those had to be tapered off as well. So that was a blessing in disguise to help her come off the steroids more gently.

As for me, my system went into shock from an abrupt stop of steroids, because I was taking at least 2 pills a day for about a year. I went through approximately 16 months of a very difficult withdrawal. That included a weaker immune system, trouble breathing, a slow down of metabolism, extreme anxiety attacks, and virtually no sleep! I continued with hair loss and pre-diabetes symptoms for another 6 months. I tried to get back to exercising regularly, even if it was just a slow crawl around the park. If I tried to do anything rigorous like a Zumba dance class, I would literally crash in bed for the rest of the day. My cortisol levels would spike and cause a stress pool of adrenaline and consequently even more adrenal fatigue.

I remember walking my first full mile and how that was a big deal. I love the swimming pool and for 6 months could not swim or lift my right shoulder to do even one measly-stinking lap. Not one! So I would just walk in the pool to gain some muscle strength back from the resistance of the water. My back started aching and I discovered I had developed herniated discs so that added to the anguished pain of trying to get out of the rabbit hole. All that was disguised by the steroids and I had actually contributed to more damage by not knowing there was a problem.

It really took about a year and a half before the brain fog lifted and my memory was back! Had not even realized how much it had affected me until the clouds lifted. I started focusing again and my girls noticed it immediately. Little details of their life were sparkling back into my conversations with them and they appreciated their MamaBear was back on her game! One mile turned into two and I was back swimming horizontally with both arms in and out of the water! My appetite stabilized and I was sleeping through the night with only one bathroom urge. Life after steroids was coming back.

I knew my steroid withdrawal was done when I decided to learn French out of the blue. I had the energy and desire to start something new and challenge my brain. That felt like the demarcation moment of my own renaissance. I was finally free and clear from an accidental addiction without my knowledge and definitely, without my permission.  Unfortunately, the creaks and squeaks from my knees came back, but this time, I was taking the best natural turmeric and ginger roots supplements made by my friend who grows them on her family farm in Vietnam and makes them by hand here in California. I am grateful for my recovery and the wise support of my mother to get me back on track.

As we learn to be our own best medical and patient advocate, here are some of my own painful life lessons:

1st clue: It was too good to be true.

2nd clue: Should have researched the manufacturer, checked out reviews, FDA website, PatientsLikeMe and online resources like WebMd.

3rd clue: Should have been more in-tune to the side effects that were so obvious sooner.

4th clue: Should have listened to my mother when she noticed my adrenal suppression and pre-diabetic symptoms. (Mom is still always right!)

Here is the FDA warning about Reumofan and Reumafan Plus

Here is the original INVESTIGATIVE story about Reumofan by USA TODAY  

Here is the story about Rheumofan by WebMD in Spanish

# So yes, steroids are sneaking into mainstream supplements and online resellers of various products. Please remember CONSUMER BEWARE.

Can I Just Quit Topical Steroids?

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: The hardest part of this is my family doesn’t support me when I try and tell them I need to stop using the medications. How can I go through this alone?

Answer 1: You are not alone. You have ITSAN, you have the Facebook support groups, you have the YouTubers and Instagrammers that are all over the internet that are either still ‘in it’ or have victoriously come out of it and still reach back into the circle to help others get out of the hole. It really is a community that feels like family because outsiders just don’t get it.

Question 2: Why won’t my family and friends respect my decision to quit?

Answer 2: It’s only natural for your loved ones to not want to see you suffer. Especially for parents and spouses, they can actually hurt more than you with sympathy pain while feeling helpless. They can’t tap into the strength as well as you can to wean off the meds. Give them space and time to learn slowly at their own pace.

Question 3: I can’t live my life normally while going through this. How do I do this alone?

Answer 3: Again…you are NOT alone! Don’t underestimate those support groups online.  Tap into a spiritual advisor in your trusted faith. Discover motivational TED talks where speakers share their monumental recoveries. Binge watch comedies and fun stuff. Read up and plan your life when you do recover. Some of the TSW Warriors redirected their anger and resentment towards helping others and getting the word out. Briana Banos and Cara Ward made sure they documented their journeys, so others will learn from their suffering.  Find your voice. It’s usually tucked away deep in some human suffering and can be recycled into inspiration for others someday.

What is Red Skin Syndrome RSS?

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: What is Red Skin Syndrome (RSS) ?

Answer 1: RSS and Topical Steroid Addiction/Withdrawal (TSA) (TSW) are interchangeable.

Question 2: What is the difference between RSS and Topical Steroid Addiction?

Answer 2: There seems to be no difference. Just RSS gives a clearer, visual picture to the condition.

Question 3: Which one is medically accepted?

Answer 3: You may have to use the terms interchangeably to catch a doctor’s attention who may have only heard of one or the other. Save some of the websites and research papers published by these doctors so that you can share them with them and help spread awareness. Believe it or not, so many of them have not heard of these conditions yet.

Question 4: Are there legitimately published independent studies on RSS & TSA/W that I can share with my doctor(s) to convince them of what I’ve been going through? 

Answer 4: YES! Here are just a few:

CONCLUSIVE RESULTS from the International Eczema Consensus Statement above:

Sixty of 77 (79%) IEC members participated. Consensus was reached on 12 statements, including that systemic corticosteroids should generally be avoided, but can be used rarely for severe atopic dermatitis under certain circumstances, including a lack of other treatment options, as a bridge to other systemic therapies, or phototherapy, during acute flares in need of immediate relief, in anticipation of a major life event or in the most severe cases. If used, treatment should be limited to short-term. Most respondents agreed that systemic corticosteroids should never be used in children, but consensus was not reached on that statement. The conclusions of our expert group are limited by a dearth of high-quality published evidence.

So as you can see, we are just now exposing the tip of the iceberg. It’s melting, and we may witness the floodgates open up in our lifetime. Please share this book, and as the author, I’m giving you permission to share your copy to anyone in need and to disseminate this important information.

What is Topical Steroid Withdrawal TSW?

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: What is Topical Steroid Withdrawal?

Answer 1: Topical Steroid Withdrawal is the stage of consciously stopping, reducing, weaning off the medication(s) of corticosteroids. The pivot point is the day when steroids are stopped completely. At that point, the countdown begins. It may take a few days, weeks or months for the reaction of your endocrine system to communicate with you.

The reaction may be unnoticeable and you may be in the clear! Or the reaction could be an angry full body flareup with fevers, chills, and so many other symptoms. Each case is different and depends on prior usage and potency of the corticosteroids. The TSW warrior community refer to their withdrawal in timeframes of “2 years TSW” from the point of stopping steroids to that point of time currently they are in.

Another demarcation point is when the withdrawal symptoms subside to the point where life is back to some level of normal and recovery is considered good. Random flareups of eczema may or may not still occur. But the storm is over after the detoxing stages of corticosteroids purge from the body and the adrenals have rebalanced themselves.

Question 2: With so many symptoms to watch out for, how do I navigate through this journey?

Answer 2: First and foremost, work out a plan of action with your primary doctor. Hopefully, by now you’ve found one that does understand TSA/TSW/RSS and what to expect. I implore you to do this under medical supervision. Your immune system is everything and with a doctor you can begin a baseline of testing to measure where your cortisol production levels are at and go from there.

Ideally, a specialist in endocrinology is involved to pick up on the more subtle variations of testing.

Question 3: Timing is never good – so how do I know when to do this?

Answer 3: As you gather your information and resources, this would be the time to open your immediate support circle of family and friends. Reaching out and explaining the potential withdrawal process will help you make the decision based on everyone’s ability to support you. 

This critical decision could affect your ability to study, or earn income or be responsible for others. Until you test if, in fact, there is an addiction, you won’t know what to expect. So there are a lot of moving parts here that need to be worked through with your circle of family and friends and medical professionals.

Wet-wrapping

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: My doctor told me to apply steroids and then wet wrap with plastic and then bandages to make the medicine go deeper while I sleep so that it works better. Is that okay?

Answer 1: NO!

Question 2: Why?

Answer 2:  In the United States there are 7 Classifications of Topical Steroids. Class 1 is the highest and most potent. Class 7 is the lightest like the hydrocortisone you can find over the counter in any drugstore.  Once your eczema falls into the vicious cycle of steroid rebound phenomenon and the adrenals get more and more angry, the eczema appears to be getting worse every time you try and stop. Doctors will continue to prescribe higher dosages. 

Once you reach Classification 1 and there is no sign of it getting better…Surprise! By that time, it’s been a few years that you’ve been on these meds and you’ve probably gone through a lot of tubes. There’s only one other option left for the doctor. 

Maximize the highest, most potent steroid by embalming it onto your skin with a mummy wrap of cellophane plastic wrap that does not breathe and could potentially cause sweating, moisture and therefore fungal breeding ground which is another nightmare.

But wait…there’s more…Your skin needs to breathe! This could cause a plethora of other problems, not to mention death, but on the lighter side, you are virtually dumping the highest potency of steroids in a condensed time period and giving your entire endocrine system a flooding natural disaster kind of Emergency Broadcast Signal that THIS IS IT! All systems Alert! WE ARE ON MASSIVE EMERGENCY STRESS MOTHERLOAD OF ALL DISASTERS!

If you’ve read through this book by now, you’ll know your adrenals are literally deep snoozing on their La-Z-Boy Chairs and they are not going to get back up come hell or high-water. The damage is done; they have officially taken a long leave of absence.  

The stress of wet-wrapping could cause so many other infections as well. Please reconsider your options. There are full body soaks you can do in the tub with mineral salts or apple-cider vinegar to get you through full body eczema flare-ups.  There are more intensive emollients like ELAJ that can all be found at www.ELAJnaturally.com.

Disappearance of Symptoms

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: How is it that steroids make my eczema/psoriasis disappear so magically?

Answer 1: Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Steroids help silence the symptoms and disguise the real problem.

Question 2: Why does my eczema flare-up come back with such a vengeance?

Answer 2: Because you tried and shut her up. Your Derma (skin) does not appreciate being shut up and locked out of a discussion with the rest of your body. She’s trying to tell you something. She will keep nagging until you read between her lines and go deeper into the original cause. Remember that first message she tried to text you? Now she’s angry and wants you to know it.

Question 3: So why is my eczema spreading around in new places?

Answer 3:  Since you didn’t deal with the original allergen or problem that your liver and internal organs were trying to communicate, those rebels went to go find an open bar somewhere else. Maybe this time in a different location further away. Those little rebel soldiers will keep you up and party until the bar shuts down at 2 am. That’s when they love to come back and mark their new territory and shout in their belligerent and obnoxious voices on the rooftops, “Can you hear us now?”  This is the beginning of the tug of war between your immune system and your skin.

Question 4: So I started with contact dermatitis and now I have atopic dermatitis – is this how it spread?

Answer 4: Yes. These are the risks that were probably not mentioned by a doctor in a rush to prescribe. Nurses are the most susceptible to this phenomenon worldwide. Especially since they are already prone to immune rollercoasters working at medical centers. What starts as a local problem with their hands from washing with highly toxic anti-bacterial soaps so frequently to using immunosuppressants ends with them converting contact dermatitis to atopic dermatitis while jeopardizing their immune system. This has been a problem with workers compensation absenteeism and a workforce that has been in short supply for the last 10 years.

Rebound Phenomenon

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: What is “Steroid Rebound Phenomenon?”

Answer 1:  Steroid Rebound Phenomenon is a vicious cycle that your adrenals glands play with you to keep cortisol in your body. Since you originally SHOUTED at them that you don’t need them to be producing their own cortisol, they took the lazy way out and decided to sit out the game. They figured you’ve got some other drug pusher supplying you with ‘the good stuff’  aka cortisone, and the adrenals took that as you don’t need them. Once you stop applying topical corticosteroids your ADRENALS SHOUT BACK AT YOU IN REBOUND MODE!  They are telling you to keep applying steroids because they don’t want to make their own anymore for you.

Question 2: What does the rebound look/feel like?

Answer 2: It’s like your adrenals are full of revenge and they want you to know it. Basically, they will flood your body with histamines and other itchy, obnoxious red rash types of text messages to your skin to alert you to go back and apply those cremes again.  Meanwhile, you are in a tug of war of wanting to quit those cremes, but your adrenals are so stubborn and don’t want to go back to work. So what do you do? You try and quiet their temper tantrums by applying more topical steroids. “Just this once…I promise, and then I’ll quit.” Sound familiar?  That’s the rebound phenomenon where the ball comes back to your court…again…and again.

Question 3: How do I stop playing this vicious game?

Answer 3: This is a tough call from the referee, YOU! You have to call the shots .  Quitting steroids is not easy. Timing is everything.  This is a big decision and you’ll have to do the research.

Go to ITSAN.org and chat online with some of the topical steroid withdrawal veterans that have been through the worst stages already. Start building a network of support. Start planning your life around what could be a major journey. Sometimes life gets in the way and a milestone like a wedding, birth, graduation may not be the best time to risk going into a difficult withdrawal process. You’ll need a supportive circle around you.

It may take time to educate them on what may happen and what to expect.  So while you are learning, you may need to teach others as well. This affects more than just you and it would be wise to plan with your loved ones to possibly step up and be there for you.

On the other hand, you may just breeze through it and realize your immune system is strong with or without steroids. You just may be one of the lucky ones that came through without setbacks to your hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal (HPA) axis.

What is Topical Steroid Addiction TSA?

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: How would I know if I’m addicted to topical steroids?

Answer 1: It could be as easy as seeing if you can quit. Usually, your body will tell you within a few days or weeks.  If you have a reserve of synthetic steroids built up for a long period of time like a few years’ worth of heavy usage, it may take 1-4 months. At that point, your adrenal glands are forced to wake up and realize that they can’t take it easy anymore and they have to get back to work.

Upon stopping or reducing the use of topical steroids, the flareups begin again. With each cycle of stopping, the body communicates that it wants more. Take a long picture of your body front and back wearing minimal undergarments or nothing, if possible. This will serve a baseline as your starting point. Mark your calendar. Begin a journal of monitoring the time frame of when another flare begins to appear. Is the flare worse?

If a few weeks go by without a flare – great! Keep it up for a few more months just to be sure. If three months go by without any major flare-up and/or large red patches appear, then you may be in the clear.  It does take at least a few months or so because the body has been known to keep a reservoir of topical steroids in the most minute areas of the vascular system due to the vasoconstriction that topical steroids cause.

Remember your normal eczema patches and flare-ups are not what we are referring to, but rather a larger surface area of red skin that feels burning deeper inside and almost like the skin is wearing a red long sleeve shirt. If your skin flares up in a more angry, feverish kind of way then you may begin to see different signs and symptoms progressively.

Question 2: How will I know it’s not just another eczema flare-up?

Answer 2: TSA and RSS are different than eczema in that they encompass larger surface areas than the dry, spotty eczema patches that you may have had earlier on before starting topical steroids. There is a deeper burning sensation that goes beyond a local itching flareup.

Question 3: What kind of reaction can I expect if my body is addicted?

Answer 3: Remember in the first chapters when I mentioned those adrenal glands are like the schoolyard bullies? They get spoiled quickly and feel entitled to the slow, lazy life and they don’t like it when they actually have to do homework and work with the thyroid again rebalancing out your body’s temperature, metabolism and re-strengthening your immune system.

So…they get angry. They will definitely let you and every part of your body know. How? By causing a few reactions such as:

A body flushed with red. It may look like you are wearing a red turtleneck sweater with long sleeves. The red usually appears around the neck, chest and may be stronger in those areas and then also along your forearms right up to your wrist. For some crazy reason, the red flushing usually stops right about there. Sometimes it does cover the hands to the finger tips too.  On the legs, it will usually stop right at the ankles. Don’t be fooled into thinking that only the original areas where you applied topical steroids would be affected. Once they are in the system   the red flushing can appear anywhere, it is not specific anymore to your original eczema dry spots. You’re in the big leagues now of systemic side effects of topical steroids. 

Extreme body temperature fluctuations and hot/cold flashes.

Nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite or a voracious need to eat.

Extreme case of body itching. Some have reported itching so deep that it feels like your bones are itching. It really is that deep and intolerable.

A sudden dryness to your skin that is far worse than the original eczema or psoriasis flare-ups. Some crusting areas around lips and hands and crevices like inner elbows and knees making it virtually impossible to move or talk.

Full body dandruff with constant flaking – that’s from the extreme dry skin.

Some experience a phenomenon of oozing or the sensation of sweating a yellow or clear substance that has a pungent, sulfuric smell.

Severe insomnia and disruption to sleep quality.

Weight loss/gain. More likely it will go the opposite way of what you want.

An immune system that is generally weaker thereby allowing any cold to turn into something more dramatic that lasts longer.

Change in eyesight and/or development of cataracts and changes to the Interocular Pressure (IOP). Please get your eyesight checked 3-4 x per year if you’ve used any topical steroids on your face. 

Decreased sexual libido, fertility, and increased dysfunction.

Bone loss, weakness from mineral depletion. In children or babies, it could translate to stunted growth and lower bone density.

Symptoms of diabetes, Cushing syndrome and other auto-immune conditions.

Highest Areas of Absorption

Topical Steroid Side Effects

Question 1: Does it matter where I apply the topical steroid and how much is absorbed?

Answer 1: Oh yes! Beware of the most delicate areas around the eyelids, face, jawline, neck and thinnest skin on and around your private parts and genitals!

Question 2: Does it matter if my medication is an ointment, creme, foam, gel, shampoo, solution, lotion, compounding powder or spray for absorption?

Answer 2: Yes! They each have varying degrees of absorption and should be noted with your doctor as to when and where to apply. A diligent doctor may prescribe an ointment to skin areas that are thicker like palms of hands or psoriasis plaque areas from excessive itching and cumulative trauma to the skin with layers of dead skin piled up. Perhaps a more or less soluble ointment for other areas based on doctor’s assessment of how compromised the skin is in that specific location. A cream for the acute and subacute dermatoses that are rash prone and areas that can hold moisture. Be prepared to ask specific questions about each medication and where and when to apply.

Question 3: Are topical steroids tested on people with eczema or on people with normal skin?

Question 3: There are two types of tests. Absorption tests are conducted on healthy volunteers without atopic dermatitis.

For clinical purposes, topical steroids that go into the market are tested on diseased skin where the epidermal barrier is defective, and in those, the penetration of topical steroids is 2 to 10 times greater than that of healthy skin according to this study.

Question 4: Will only that area experience side effects or my whole body?

Answer 4: Possibly none, maybe one or all of the above. Some will only experience the most common skin atrophy and thinning locally in that localized area. Some will experience the full-body systemic effect of side effects. There’s just no way of knowing who, what, when will be the most affected and how.

In the example of the eye area, the steroids have been known to penetrate deep enough to affect interocular eye pressure and therefore, accelerate cataracts and glaucoma potential just by applying on the face and not necessarily around the eyes. So it can vary based on quantity, length of usage and the individual’s susceptibility to immune suppression therapies.

Another factor is if the person is already on another form of steroids such as inhalers for asthma and oral steroids such as prednisone for allergic reactions.  Those patients are especially reactive to eye problems.

It’s sad, but here at ELAJ, we talk to young people in their 20’s that are already suffering from eye problems such as cataracts and yet, had no idea the steroids they used on their face were the cause. They simply were not informed properly by their doctor. 

Cataracts and Atopic dermatitis (Eczema)

Author: Suhein Beck
February 14, 2016

What you need to know to protect your eyes.

IF you have Atopic dermatitis / Eczema – a misleading idea is to think that cataracts only affects older persons. Cataracts is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens between the iris and pupil and can cause blindness. Studies show that people that suffer with mild to moderate Atopic dermatitis (eczema) have a higher 25-50% occurrence and accelerated rate among ages 18-50 years old. Whereas the general population around the world usually reflects a prevalence of cataracts as we age after turning 40 years old.

This higher prevalence of younger people with cataracts and atopic dermatitis has not been proven to be linked to the actual clinical symptoms of eczema or eczema medications such as topical steroid use, but suspected as the same genetic factors that trigger the typical triad of problems such as eczema, asthma and allergies. This is what we can call “spillover of inflammatory response systems.”

According to the National Eye Institute, “Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.” However, there seems to be contradicting information and clinical studies proving / disproving the exact relationship with corticosteroid use both systemically or topically in relation to the accelerated progression of cataracts when Atopic dermatitis is or has been present. Strangely enough, the presence of cataracts was NOT limited to those with just facial eczema, but rather cataracts had potential to develop even when the eczema was anywhere on body, and not just on / near face and eyes.

The mere diagnosis of Atopic dermatitis is enough to justify setting the alarm clocks on more frequent Opthalmologist visits. In fact, it is recommended to set up QUARTERLY OPTHAMOLOGY VISITS EVERY 3 MONTHS because of the potential of sudden and accelerated cataracts especially when the eczema condition exacerbates. Keep a health diary of symptoms and medications, especially when taking any form of corticosteroids.

Stay tuned for more info on Glaucoma and Eczema in my next article.
HINT: Topical Steroids is shown to have direct relationship in the development of Glaucoma!