Cortisone is a hormone produced naturally in the adrenal gland, which is responsible for the processing of proteins and their transformation into carbohydrates. When the hormone is produced artificially it serves to reduce inflammation, it also serves to suppress the immune system and in some cases to control pain and the progression of some diseases.
What is cortisone for?
Cortisone is a drug that can reduce the progression of certain diseases as well as improve the living conditions of those with some types of cancer, tumors, respiratory diseases, inflammation, increased tissue, etc. Some of its most common benefits are:
Cortisone as an anti-inflammatory
It can act directly on the affected area either in its topical or injected version and reduce inflammation by helping the circulatory system to work normally.
Cortisone in cases of allergies
It can improve respiratory diseases and obstruction of the airways, nasal, paranasal, etc.
Cortisone against cancer
People suffering from lupus and other types of tumorous cancer are prescribed with cortisone to reduce the size of the tumor or to control the consequences of the disease. It can prevent the damage to the kidneys, liver and heart from being irreversible.
To treat eating disorders
People who have lost their appetite as a result of chemotherapies, radiotherapies or other highly invasive treatments are prescribed with this hormone to regain the desire to eat.
Cortisone to treat adrenal disorders
People who cannot produce their own hormones in the adrenal gland should consume cortisone and thus balance the deficit since with this they do not run the risk of presenting other symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance.
Eliminates nausea produced by chemicals
It acts on the immune, digestive, nervous system and much more. It is able to control the urge to vomit that occurs as sequels or side effects when consuming very strong chemicals.
How does cortisone work in the body?
Once in the bloodstream, cortisone can help treat blood diseases such as aplastic anemia, myelomas, hemolytic anemia, and others of greater impact. Cortisone also acts around localized inflammation, it can reduce the swelling of tumors or internal trauma since it prevents leukocytes from moving to the affected areas.
However, the use of this hormone must be controlled by specialists since it can have side effects, such as in the same case of leukocytes, which are those who prevent infections, by restricting their movement it can leave the body exposed if it is not controls properly.
Although several diseases are treated with cortisone, there are specific presentations for each case. Although it will also depend on the type of disease to be treated; in the case of skin pathologies, creams and ointments are prescribed, if on the contrary it is to treat arthritis or bone ailments, the doctor prescribes capsules or localized injections. You can also get inhalers, eye drops, spray, syrups, aerosol, etc.
The topical use of medications with cortisone is prescribed in patients with skin pathologies such as eczema, psoriasis or atopic dermatitis, in all cases it is recommended to use cortisone cream or ointment depending on the type of skin. In the case of the cream, which is made from water, it is recommended for oily skin, so as not to affect its pH or natural balance.
In the case of dry skin, it would be better to use cortisone ointments and thus add some essential oils to the injury. The cortisone’s job will be to reduce the inflammation around the injury. It is not recommended to use it for a long time without medical supervision as it tends to weaken the skin.
The face is another area that should not come in contact with cortisone unless prescribed by the doctor. In any case, its use should be condemned to a maximum of 5 days and never cover the injury with bandages after applying the cream.
This form of application is used in the case of deeper conditions that are under the skin layer. It is used in patients diagnosed with various types of arthritis to reduce joint pain and inflammation as well as in people with bursitis, plantar fasciitis or tendonitis.
The injection goes directly to the joint and it is common to place it in the elbows, fingers, ankles, knees, spine or hips. The case of particles of the injections is controlled by the doctor in a meticulous way since excessive use can weaken the area, wear the skin, the joint and even the bone.
It is normal to keep track of the number of injections received by each patient. Its long-lasting effect is sure to decrease pain and inflammation throughout the injury.
Other cortisone medications
Most of these medications require a prescription and specific indications of the dose to be ingested, this will depend on the type of patient, the severity of the pathology and their general physical conditions. Medications that may contain corticosteroids, in addition to cortisone, are:
These cortisone medications are also prescribed in cases of severe problems such as: lupus erythematosus, addison, joint rheumatism, infections caused by tuberculosis, liver cirrhosis, nephrosis and some neurological diseases.
There is no average age to start a cortisone-based treatment, it has been prescribed in young children and its use can be extended for life in adults with permanent pathologies.
Do corticosteroids make you fat?
It is not determined that by themselves, corticosteroids cause an excessive increase, but among the side effects that they can cause is fluid retention. If the patient gains weight and volume, as a result of ingesting cortisone, it is because his body has had a different reaction to most people.
It may happen that in patients with long-term treatments based on corticosteroids, physical changes such as an increase in a double chin, a swollen abdomen, etc. are seen. If each change is consulted with the specialist and the dose is regulated, the side effects such as weight gain should disappear.
Every day, better quality drugs are being produced in laboratories and with this we seek to reduce side effects as much as possible. It is unlikely that cortisone causes irreparable discomfort in any patient, however it is good to take into account what are the possible contraindications of its consumption:
Cortisone increases appetite
As cortisone metabolizes proteins and carbohydrates, it can cause hunger if the doses are very high, in fact, they are used to treat lack of appetite and this condition can occur in any patient.
Cortisone increases anxiety
The natural hormone can act on the nervous system and on the brain, in fact, it can be a trigger or inhibitor of stress. Therefore, when other conditions are treated, cortisone can cause anxiety or stimulate emotions.
Cortisone complicates calcium absorption
On few occasions a decrease in the absorption of calcium in the bones has been observed in patients, a side effect that has been improved with each version of the drugs.
Healing can be prevented with the use of cortisone
The cortisone hormone acts mainly in the blood, we already know that it prevents the displacement of leukocytes and in this way can slow down healing, a doctor must immediately attend to this side effect if it occurs.
Cortisone and fluid retention
The first place where this change will be noticed will be on the face, the tissue in the cheeks increases and the excess weight knocks the tissue due to gravity. This condition occurs equally in children and adults.
Cortisone and insulin resistance
Hormonal imbalance can occur by altering the code or interpretation of hormones such as insulin. The disproportion of this hormone causes an increase in abdominal fat, the appearance of hair on the body, hair loss, metabolic problems, etc.
Conclusion, cortisone is an essential corticosteroid
The use of cortisone is essential to mimic the function of the natural hormone when it is no longer produced by the body, which helps control many conditions to ensure that people have a better quality of life. However, its use is delicate, and must be strictly supervised by a health professional.
Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.