Side Effects

What is a ‘side effect’?

A side effect is any adverse event associated with medical or other treatment. They are also called adverse effects or adverse reactions.

Many different treatments have intended effects. Any other effect on the body other than this is deemed as a side effect.

Are side effects bad?

Side effects are by definition unintended. Are they bad? The answer to this question depends on the severity of the effects.
The severity can range from mild to severe and life-threatening.

Side effects can by definition be a positive thing-like improved self-image after mole removal or improved sleep quality after acupuncture for back pain. Other times side effects can certainly be harmful such as increased weight or digestive issues through certain medications.

Side effects will vary for each person. They are influenced by:
  • general health
  • the state of their disease
  • age
  • weight
  • gender
They can be mild, moderate, or severe.

What do you do if you have side effects from medical treatment?

In the first instance, get in touch with the practitioner that recommended medical treatment that brought on side effects.

Sometimes treatments can have their own adverse events and other times they will interact with other treatments to produce side effects.

It is important to report side effects, especially if they have not been experienced before or are moderate to severe. Sometimes these can be indicators of further problems and are simple to resolve.

Do all treatments have side effects?

If properly prescribed, no.
Effective treatment involves matching a correct treatment plan to a correct diagnosis. In some circumstances, side effects are unavoidable and expected. It is necessary to weigh up the pros and cons of treatment when evaluating the likelihood and severity of side effects. A qualified health professional will be able to assist with this evaluation.

Next Time

The next time you have had a treatment, ask yourself, what has this treatment done to help me? Are there any effects that were unexpected? Were these effects helpful or harmful? 

Effective communication with your healthcare practitioner leads to greater results for all.

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