Prednisone Side Effects And Warnings

Learn Facts and Information About Prednisone, Both Side Effects and Benefits

Side Effects of Prednisone in Women

Prednisone Side Effects in Women

Prednisone is an oral corticosteroid used to treat allergies, inflammatory and pulmonary diseases like asthma. The most common side effect in women is an irregular or absent menstrual cycle. It is well known that women often experience irregular periods because of various hormonal changes. Taking Prednisone will increase the risk of irregular bleeding and related symptoms such as heavy bleeding, abdominal pain and mood swings due to this hormonal imbalance. Women may also experience a loss of appetite and loss of sexual desire.

Women should avoid taking corticosteroids during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, because of the possible side effects that may occur. Taking Prednisone when you are pregnant increases the chances of your baby having a lower birth weight than expected, or giving birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy[1]. One of the most serious side effects for the unborn baby are oral clefts, which are facial malformations in which the lip or the palate are not properly joined, leading to openings between the nose and the mouth or between the nostrils. When it comes to breastfeeding, only small amounts of the medicine enter the breast milk, so it is unlikely to affect the baby's health as Prednisone is similar to the natural hormones that our body produces[2]. One way to avoid side effects while breastfeeding is to take the medicine just after a feed, then wait at least four hours before the next one.

Post-partum women in particular may experience emotional changes and cognitive side effects including mania and depression[3]. Mood changes are generally mild but there is a chance of developing serious psychiatric illnesses, depending on the prescribed dosage and the duration of treatment. Another side effect of Prednisone in women is the abnormal protrusion of the eyes, which is called "Graves' eye disease" and symptoms include eye irritation, excessive tearing and sensitivity to light, as well as bulging eyes. Women are advised to sleep with their heads elevated and use eye drops to relieve the resulting dry-eye syndrome. Also, other vision problems may occur during Prednisone treatment, such as eye pain, redness and cataracts. Cataracts make your crystalline lens become opaque over time, clouding your view and making it hard to distinguish objects around you. Symptoms of cataracts include faded colors, blurry or double vision and seeing halos around lights. Inhaled steroids are known to accelerate the cataract development[4].

Excessive growth of body hair could be an issue for women but unfortunately this is a common side effect of corticosteroid treatment. Weight gain along with the redistribution of body fat is also possible, leading to the accumulation of fat in the dorsal area. This symptom is known as "buffalo hump".


  1. Walsh S.D., Clark F.R, Scott Med, Pregnancy in patients on long term corticosteroid therapy, 1967
  2. Roberts R, Blumer J, Gorman R, Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drug: Transfer of drugs and other chemicals into humal milk, 1989
  3. Brown E., Suppes T, Harv Rev Psichiatry, Mood symptoms during cotricoid therapy: a review, 1998 4. Prouix A., {Do steroids cause cataracts?}, Parkhurst Exchange, 2009

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