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Ahh, everyone seems to eventually take a side on this one – to apply cortisone or not. I now lean heavily on the avoidance side, but didn’t start out that way. I know that cortisone can help some children or adults for short periods of time, but if eczema continues to be a problem even with the help of cortisone, then more than likely there is something else going. The eczema triggers need to be identified in order to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.
Here is our cortisone story….
The eczema started mildly enough
Like most new parents as soon as a couple little red patches of skin appeared on my three-month old’s skin, we met with the pediatrician who immediately diagnosed Tristan with eczema and prescribed a mild dose of cortisone to apply topically. Like magic the mild eczema went away completely only to come back as soon as we took the mandatory break as prescribed from the doctor. We started then stopped the steroid application multiple times during a two month period. Then the steroid became less affective. When we took a break his eczema would come back worse. At this point we were seeing a pediatric dermatologist at the children’s hospital who prescribed stronger cortisone. Sure enough, it worked, for a short while. Then the eczema continued to worsen even during cortisone treatment periods, not just during the breaks. Again, the dermatologist recommended an even stronger dose. I asked about food allergies and the dermatologist said it was extremely rare that food could cause eczema flare-ups. She also said she could instantly tell by looking at my son’s skin that his was certainly not related to food. Years later we determined food is a big trigger for our son…go figure!
Crossroads – to continue steroid treatment or not
At this point my husband and I began to seriously have doubts about the steroid treatment. If the physicians wanted to just keep increasing the strength of the cortisone, then where would we be in one year, five years, etc? I could not imagine months of steroid treatment, must less a life time! What would that do to his skin? I had read side effects could include thinning of the skin, stretch marks, and infections. If it’s continuously absorbed into the blood stream it can cause hormone imbalance and in rare cases even stunt growth. Of course to have these types of side effects we’re talking about long-term usage of a pretty strong steroid dosage. But, still. I found it to be all too scary. Since the physicians just wanted to up my son’s dose weren’t we potentially heading towards the strong stuff and probably the long-term path? Also, many kids with eczema experience weepy, oozing skin, and most with moderate to severe cases experience bleeding from scratching. It seems that the cortisone could much more easily be absorbed through this type of skin and right into the blood stream. No?
Moving on & treating the cause/eczema trigger
Bottom line is we stopped using cortisone as it didn’t help my son. When we stopped the steroid treatment we started looking for his triggers and thankfully were very successful, although it wasn’t easy. Today Tristan is on some homeopathy drops (which I was VERY skeptical of until I saw they helped) as well as some supplements and multiple dietary changes. We eat organically and clean with all natural products like soap nuts, vinegar, and baking soda. As most of you know, he’s 95% better today. Still trying to make it 100%.
What have been your experiences with steroid treatment for eczema? Have they helped or further aggravated your or your child’s eczema? How long did you use them for? Have you noticed any side effects?