Nutrition Regrets During Topical Steroid Withdrawal
Last updated: April 2022
It has been a no-brainer to incorporate healthy eating choices and food eliminations throughout my lifelong eczema journey whenever I’d flare up badly. My parents were very diligent in helping me heal, along with medication from doctors, and through natural foods. I was always aware of the damaging effects of processed and inflammation-causing foods.
Shifting my focus
This pattern that I adopted into my adulthood dealing with eczema flares is often caused by stress. Once my skin started getting out of control, I knew that the inevitable “switch-up” had to begin.
That programmed switch included requesting a higher topical steroid cream, planning elimination diets, and later in life, adopting a vegan diet for a period of time. Never did I think that I needed to look at my stressors and eliminate them. I had my antidote to what I felt would be my life skin cycle.
The beginning of my TSW
Once topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) hit, I followed my normal routine. Since this was my worst flare to date and similar to a very horrible flare I had to be hospitalized for as a child, it made me pay attention and realize that I cannot be this reliant on one source to maintain my ability to live.
My reliance on steroid creams needed to change
I recognized that, without my steroid creams, I would not even be able to walk and exist in the world as myself. That was an unacceptable reality, and after learning of TSW and using the high dosage steroid cream one last time, I threw it away. Once everything calmed, I tested myself on how long I can go, barely using a topical steroid cream, using low dosages, and even getting to the point where I could use over-the-counter cortisone 1% and 2% - something I could never do. I only used it in small areas, but even that came to the point that it had to go. I was fully aware of the harm and the endless cycle steroid creams were putting me through that enough was enough.
Fully following a nutrition routine
All while slowly testing out lower cortisone creams and only using once a week to maybe once a month to finally never, I was following a strict diet. This diet was mostly learned through Anthony Williams, who calls himself Medical Medium. I already knew that his suggestions were not a long-term lifestyle reality for me. I gathered information from many other leading holistic health educators and found what was best for me at the time - so I thought!
Elimination and dietary changes
I totally agree with the elimination diet. Removing foods for a short period, then reintroducing them one by one to see if you have an intolerance. The problem begins when you eliminate almost anything of substance and nourishment for your body that didn’t come from a plant or a tree for an extended period — a period where you see yourself physically deteriorating as if you are on chemotherapy for cancer.
A full-time focus on healing
In my mind, as long as I still had eczema on my skin and terrible flares and TSW symptoms, I needed to be in a state of constant internal cleansing and let my body only focus on healing from the core.
This idea made logical sense, especially when you see others in your same situation healing from that way of life. In hindsight, no longer being in the state of survival, I see that I was risking my life to have clear, itch-free skin or simply any form of control of the uncontrollable. I feel like I could have tried ways that didn’t involve me losing at least 15 lbs on an already small frame that made me look even more physically ill.
A give and take approach to diet
I am glad that I know that I did all I could to heal my cells from the inside out, but my only warning and suggestion would be to take more of a give and take approach, not only taking from your diet. TSW involves so much more than your skin. It included gut health, digestion, bone health, and all organs used for elimination needing to rebuild themselves. That is something wayyyyyyy out of my depth of knowledge, and if I could have had a health coach that incorporated a more balanced viewpoint, that would have been ideal.
Elimination didn't speed up the process
Eliminating the majority of foods did not make my healing process any quicker. I am 3-years into TSW and finally started feeling and continually looking like myself during this final year. With TSW, your body has to go through whatever it has to purge the steroid drug out of your system. That is a time process that is still not fully known, but I saw a pattern of 3-years with the majority of TSW survivors when first learning about it. Eczema is the part where diet, elimination, and lifestyle can make a difference and are worth the work, but only within balance.
It's a tricky road to navigate
I have the hope that this article resonates with someone who is questioning what may seem like the logical direction with their eating for detoxification. It is still a thought process that I am rambling through to see how I could best help others without physically deteriorating as much as I did. Ultimately, weight is the last thing on your mind when healing from a debilitating disease, but this is bigger than pounds. It’s about listening to body signs and what your body is showing you looks healthy or not.
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