Itchy dozen signs you have topical steroid withdrawalThis page is for people going through topical steroid withdrawal and is based on the experience of several thousand ITSAN forum members. Unfortunately there are no absolutes or works coming off topical steroids. Having a plan in place will help you feel prepared and will help prevent unintended consequences. For instance, prolonged exposure to topical steroids on large areas of the body may cause certain individuals to develop adrenal coming off topical steroids, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal HPA axis suppression or test prop vs dbol kickstart adrenal symptoms. Stopping topical steroids when the adrenal gland is severely depressed can be life threatening.
What is Topical Steroid Withdrawal Syndrome and how do I prevent it? – Eczema Life
This page is for people going through topical steroid withdrawal and is based on the experience of several thousand ITSAN forum members. Unfortunately there are no absolutes or works every-time-tricks. Having a plan in place will help you feel prepared and will help prevent unintended consequences. For instance, prolonged exposure to topical steroids on large areas of the body may cause certain individuals to develop adrenal suppression, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal HPA axis suppression or other adrenal symptoms.
Stopping topical steroids when the adrenal gland is severely depressed can be life threatening. An ACTH test , usually performed by an endocrinologist, can rule out these conditions. Stopping long term use of oral, injected, or inhaled steroids is NEVER recommended, unless under the direction of a doctor.
Going through RSS may require taking time off to recover. If you work, plan for time off work by looking into options for a leave of absence. College students may want to take a few semesters off or opt to take online courses until the later stages of recovery. For children and teenagers, it may be necessary to arrange for homeschooling or tutoring to allow for flexibility. Creating a plan in advance will alleviate the stress of finding last minute childcare or negotiating time off from work or school during a debilitating flare.
Recuperating from RSS is often extended and incapacitating. Many people experience painful symptoms and become covered in a full body rash or flushing that can last for weeks or months before clearing. Most have symptoms that are cyclical until the skin makes a full recovery.
Some may not be able to participate in normal activities for many months. Work, school, and family life will be disrupted by extreme fatigue, itching and burning skin, and an erratic sleep schedule or insomnia. The appearance of the skin may also affect the desire to be seen in public. The most important thing to remember is that the body is going through a very intense healing process.
Arranging a less stressful schedule can be very beneficial and, in many cases, necessary. A supportive doctor can help navigate: The recovery time frame is individual, protracted, and not well understood. Some who used topical steroids a short time may have an extended withdrawal, while others who used a relatively long time may have a shorter withdrawal.
In general, it is believed that the length of time topical steroids were used, the potency of the topical steroids, where the topical steroids were applied and continuous use have some bearing on withdrawal patterns. Some areas of the body such as the eyelids, face and genitals absorb at higher levels when topicals are applied.
A history of oral or injected corticosteroids, such as prednisone, may also affect how long it takes to recover. Because of these variables, it is difficult to say exactly how long it will take to make a full recovery. Most people experience vast improvement within 12 to 24 months, while some require longer or shorter periods of time to fully recover.
Exact recovery time is completely individual and nearly impossible to predict. Flares can last anywhere from a few days to several months. During a break, your skin may also feel tight, like plastic, or very rough. The redness may decrease in some places and oozing may decrease as well. You may be somewhat less itchy during a break. The cycle of flares followed by breaks usually occurs many times until you are fully recovered.
For example, skin may ooze during a flare, then become flaky and dry during a break. Some people may never have a true break and experience milder, long-term symptoms until fully healed. Can I have withdrawal on only one part of my body? This is especially true with use on the face, or in the case of caregivers applying topical steroids to another person over time, without washing their hands afterwards.
It is also common for people to have widespread withdrawal symptoms, despite using only a small amount of topical steroids on a small area of the body. Are my allergies getting worse? Elevated IgE and eosinophils are normal during RSS and levels typically return to normal gradually with recovery. However, it is important to rule out other causes for elevated IgE and eosinophils with your doctor.
For these reasons, allergy testing during Topical Steroid Withdrawal may not be valuable. The following may explain the link between topical steroid use and elevated IgE levels:. Thus, therapy of patients with atopic dermatitis by topical corticosteroids within two weeks resulted in the elevation of spontaneous production of IgE by B-cells in vitro. The experiment has showed that corticosteroids are able to induce IgE production by B-lymphocytes when added to a culture in vitro.
A synergy of IL-4 and corticosteroids in induction by B-cells of IgE production plays, probably, some role in the influence of corticosteroids on the course of atopic diseases. The itch is often the worst symptom for many people, because it is constant and impossible to satisfy. For me, itching has been the worst symptom in my recovery from Topical Steroid Withdrawal. It has brought me to my knees crying, praying, begging it to stop. The itch has made me wish I was dead. There were times when I itched 24 hours a day.
Healing from Topical Steroid Addiction is the only thing that truly takes the itch away, but there are ways to manage it. This is a deep, healing itch. Thinking of the itch as a step in the healing process may help with acceptance and understanding that it will pass. Yes, but it takes time. The itch becomes more tolerable at different stages of the withdrawal process. Some have reported that the itch is not as intense in the later months, when compared to the first few months of withdrawal.
Should I limit scratching? You will probably not be able to eliminate scratching. The itch is so intense that almost everyone scratches. Although you will need to scratch, you must do so carefully.
It is extremely important that you do not do more damage to skin and set yourself back further with open wounds or a skin infection. Another risk of scratching with your nails is deformation of fingernails caused by scratching too much or too hard.
It can also make your skin hurt or feel sore, which can be difficult to cope with when your skin is already very tight, dry, and painful. Is there a safer way to scratch? This can help prevent wounds and infections. It does not break the skin but relieves the itch. I washed the comb with soap and hot water, then sterilized it with alcohol. The purpose of this survival guide is to share tips that have helped veterans who have been or who are going through RSS.
This is not to be taken as medical advice, just the personal experiences of other people who have been there. Not everything will help everyone. Listen to your body and use what you find helps you the most. What one may love to use, another can not tolerate so spot test everything to avoid a full body irritation.
Some people cannot tolerate any moisturizer during withdrawal — especially in certain stages of withdrawal, but here are the moisturizers many of our forum members like to use. Please spot test everything to make sure the skin can tolerate the moisturizers or soaps and remember to only try one new thing at a time.
Also note that the skin may accept something for a while and then become irritated at another stage of withdrawal when the same product is applied. Most people find emollients, ointments or balms made with simple ingredients to be more comfortable than creams or lotions. The skin can be so sensitive during RSS, some members can not tolerate being submerged in water, and instead prefer sponge baths or using wipes for personal cleansing.
For those who get comfort from the tub, the following products can be added to the bath water. Be prepared to discontinue any of these measures if they cause further irritation or discomfort. Wraps after moisturizer and baths. Some members find relief from wrapping after bathing and moisturizing. Wraps gauze and tape are a great way to lock in the moisturizer and protect the skin while it heals.
Other members find relief from dry wrapping. The pressure on the skin can sometimes distract you from the itch or help keep you from scratching. Antibacterial ointments such as neo-sporin may help if superficial infection is suspected. Some people have also used colloidal silver sprays and certain essential oils to help prevent infection.
All serious infections should be checked by a doctor. Cellulitis can occur when bacteria gets under the skin and this can be very dangerous if not treated. It is important to select a laundry soap that will not irritated the skin.
It is also recommended to cycle your washing machine with vinegar or bleach to prevent bacteria from growing. A good vacuum for clean up of shedding skin flakes. It may be helpful to have a small vacuum on hand just for this purpose, whether for use around the house or directly on sheets.
Laundering sheets can be difficult if skin flakes are not vacuumed prior to laundering. Spare sets of cotton sheets make it easier to change your bed often.
Towels and wash cloths for bath time. Some even like to use a slightly damp wash cloth in bed to wipe or rub skin as itching arises at night. Many people report feeling cold or chilled during RSS.