Today is my last day of a 20-day prednisone taper. I'm very happy to say goodbye to Hungry Hilda (my alter ego who comes out when I'm on the juice and demands food every 2 hours), though I worry how I will feel in a few days. I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!
Being on prednisone for the 3rd time in a little over a year and experiencing more side effects this time got me thinking more about this "wonder drug." Yes, it makes me feel better pretty quickly. But this time, there was also the insomnia, Hungry Hilda, and the messed up menstrual cycle (just a day late this time, phew!).
A couple of readers noted they've had problems with their cycles, too. It got me wondering if the effects extended to ovulation - since prednisone might be something I'll have to use if I start flaring again when we start trying for a baby. Turns out - there is some evidence that prednisone *can* affect ovulation.
Prednisone is a hormone, so it can mess with other hormones in your body - including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), both of which are necessary for normal ovulation. For women with normal levels of hormones, it appears that higher doses of prednisone may delay or suppress ovulation. For women with high levels of androgens (for example, women who have poly cystic ovarian syndrome - PCOS), prednisone may actually suppress the androgens enough to allow the body to ovulate. So - I guess we can say that yes, prednisone affects ovulation - but it could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on where you're starting from. Interesting info - and definitely something to keep in mind.
Also a little tidbit for any guys with RA out there - I also read prednisone can lower sperm count at high levels.
OK - enough about the prednisone for now. I'm off to feed the Hilda! :)