Hemochromatosis and Steroids: What Happens When You Take Steroids While Dealing With Hemochromatosis?

Content published and reviewed by Sandra Thomas

BlogHemochromatosis

Hemochromatosis is a health disorder that causes your body to take up more iron than it needs. The condition needs to be regulated by ensuring you do not take in any more iron. Controlling the condition also involves reducing the amounts in the body through a procedure known as phlebotomy.

In layman’s language, steroids are artificial hormones. There are two types of steroids. We have corticosteroids that are used to manage chronic pain. Then there are anabolic steroids that people use to enhance their athleticism and sex appeal.

Corticosteroids cannot cure any diseases, they are just a way of reducing swelling, inflammation, pain, and stiffness when there is no other solution. There are often given to people who are battling arthritis.

The question is, can people who have hemochromatosis take steroids? Keep in mind that hemochromatosis has a close relationship with hormones.

Corticosteroids for Hemochromatosis Pain.

Does hemochromatosis cause pain?

Not always. But it can. The pain can sometimes be unbearable.

To get a clear perspective of why hemochromatosis causes pain, let’s explore how it affects the body.

Hemochromatosis causes and excess accumulation of iron in your blood and critical organs. The iron accumulates in your skin, bones, and joints when the condition is server. Too much iron in the skin, bones, and joints causes them to become stiff. That is where the pain kicks in. That condition is known as arthritis.

Apart from that direct involvement, the other health challenges caused by hemochromatosis might cause pain as well. Take for instance liver disease, diabetes, and heart disease. These are conditions that are likely to cause chronic pain in various parts of your body.

Even if you don’t suffer severe pain, hemochromatosis will cause you to feel fatigued. You usually never have any body-energy.

Under such circumstances, corticosteroids can be prescribed to help you deal with the pain. You should never prescribe them for yourself. Leave that to your doctor.

Remember we mentioned that steroids are artificial hormones. How do they help in reducing pain?

First of all, hemochromatosis will interfere with your body’s natural ability to produce hormones and anti-inflammatory agents. Free radicals are unable to survive in your body when you have hemochromatosis.

The artificial steroids are going to act as anti-inflammatory agents. They play the role that’s supposed to be played by the now missing hormones. Keep in mind that they do not cure the condition, they just reduce the pain.

Let’s turn our focus to anabolic steroids.

Should you take anabolic steroids if you have hemochromatosis?

Absolutely not! Why? For the same reasons it is frowned upon even for someone who does not have hemochromatosis.

Anabolic steroids are the kind of steroids many people think about whenever you mention steroids. Most people take them to look athletic. The gains are usually short-lived and with severe side effects.

Anabolic steroids can cause kidney problems, liver damage, enlarged heart, and mental illnesses. Given that hemochromatosis already puts you at risk of getting most of these complications, you most likely should not be doing anything that can get your there faster.

If you are not dealing with any unbearable pain, it is probably better if you stay away from steroids all together. Even corticosteroids have side effects.

Corticosteroids can affect your moods and mental health. They can also thin your skin and cause stretch marks, especially if you are overweight. They also put you at more risk of getting diabetes and hypertension. That is why you cannot prescribe the steroid for yourself. Only a doctor can weigh the risks and decide whether it is safe for you to be using steroids.

Keep this in mind; The hemochromatosis condition is the main reason you may get the pain and need steroids in the first place. If it is properly managed and kept under control, you most likely won’t experience chronic pain and have to take steroids.

As such, the goal should always be to control hemochromatosis. If it hasn’t gotten severe, a few sessions of phlebotomy will bring your iron levels down, and you can them control the condition by ensuring your iron intake remains minimal. Steroids are only recommended when there is no other solution for the pain. Sometimes the pain from such conditions can be excruciating.  

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