Hydrocortisone is steroid hormone that is necessary in a number of bodily functions, especially in the proper absorption and use of carbohydrates. The hormone is also important to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Along with the natural hormone that is produced in the adrenal cortex, it is also possible to utilize synthetic supplements in order to treat several different medical conditions. The hormone is also found in a number of over-the-counter medications developed to alleviate muscle pain and inflammation.
Many people make use of hydrocortisone cream or lotion on a regular basis. The products can be helpful in alleviating inflammation, itching and general pain with a number of skin irritations. The typical lotion or cream can be used to lessen the discomfort associated with diaper rash, insect bites, and skin irritations that are symptoms of some type of allergy. The over the counter products usually contain low amounts of the hormone, making them safe but effective for just about everyone.
There are also prescription-only hydrocortisone products that may be used in more severe situations. Because of the higher dosage, physicians tend to monitor the progress of the patient closely, adjusting the dosage of the prescription products whenever necessary. Monitoring the patient’s reaction can help prevent the incidence of side effects that may be triggered when the body is infused with excessive levels of the hormone.
For most people, the possibility of experiencing side effects from the use of over the counter hydrocortisone products is extremely low. Prescription medications are more likely to trigger side effects, although experiencing any ill effects from exposure to the products are very uncommon. Still, it is possible to experience side effects that are anywhere from mild to severe. Adjusting the dose normally alleviates any unpleasant effects and still allows the patient to enjoy the benefits of the medication.
Among some of the potential side effects of using a prescription hydrocortisone ointment, cream, or lotion include a sudden increase in appetite. Others may find that the medication impacts the mental processes, aggravating any existing depression or anxiety disorders. The skin may become excessively sensitive to natural sunlight, increasing the chances of sustaining a sunburn. Should any of these side effects appear, a physician should be consulted immediately. If decreasing the dosage does not alleviate the ill effects, a physician can usually prescribe an alternative ointment or salve in place of the hydrocortisone product.