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A woman has documented the painful process of withdrawing from steroid creams after a whopping 20 years of use.
Andrea Cisneros, from the US, first began to use topical steroid creams to treat her eczema as a child, but after two decades, she decided to go cold turkey. Watch below:
She had no choice as the steroids had stopped working, but she said she was 'afraid' to stop because she knew it was going to be a long and painful process.
"You may not be able to walk. You may not be able to take a shower," she said of her withdrawal symptoms. "You may need to stop working for God knows how long."
Sadly, the latter actually happened to Andrea, and she said she was in so much pain that she needed to rely on others to help her with the day-to-day basics of her life.
Explaining what was causing the pain, she said it was a result of the 'skin thinning to begin with', which is a common withdrawal symptom that users of the creams aren't aware of.
She said that if she'd had any knowledge of the painful withdrawal symptoms initially, she'd have never used the creams to begin.
"As soon as I stopped the steroids [in late 2019], like, the next day my face swelled up a lot and it was very red," she said.
"My face just started bleeding so quickly.
"I couldn't even take showers anymore because it felt like water was like burning acid on my skin."
Not only did the withdrawal affect Andrea's general wellbeing, but her sense of self, and she said that it got to the point where she didn't recognise herself in the mirror.
However, slowly but surely, her skin did begin to recover from the painful withdrawal process, but she felt like all aspects of her life were on pause - from her love life to her career.
Two years into the withdrawal process, Andrea said she hoped she was finally 'at the end of the race'.
Andrea took to Instagram to warn others of the dangers of topical steroids, writing: "I've been suffering from Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW), a condition that is 100% iatrogenic (meaning caused by medication; in this case topical steroids).
"I went into TSW when I stopped using steroids. TSW is not a choice; the steroids stopped working and worsened my initial condition (eczema).
"Steroids cause nerve and blood vessel damage I eventually had to stop working and move out of my apartment."
However, Andrea's story does have a happy ending, and she finally got her life - and skin - back, and a year after she quit her job, she began to work from home.
She eventually studied to become a health coach and is now living her best life and helping others along the way.
If you would like more information about eczema, please see the NHS website.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram: @andreawellness
Topics: Real Life
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