CNS Vasculitis: Lifestyle Changes for Teenagers

CNS vasculitis can complicate life for teenagers. Here are some issues that you may want to discuss with your doctor. These suggestions come from other teens who have experienced CNS vasculitis.

Taking medicine

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I know which pills I am taking?
  • Do I know why I am taking each of the pills?
  • Do I know what will happen if I don't take the pills?

If you cannot answer these questions, speak to your doctor. Make sure you understand your medicine and why you need to take it.

Taking pills can be irritating. The side effects are often unpleasant. But stopping medicine without telling your doctor is very dangerous. Your doctor prescribes the smallest possible amount of medicine to make you feel better. If you do not take it, you will hurt your body.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or social worker about ways to make taking medicine easier and less painful.

Side effects of medicine

No-one can predict how each medicine will affect your body. But remember these things:

  • The way your body reacts to the medicines is not your fault.
  • The side effects will not last. Once you finish taking the medicines, the side effects will disappear. After a while, your body will get back to normal. 

Smoking and drinking alcohol

While you are taking medicine for CNS vasculitis, you should not take any kind of drug. This includes alcohol and tobacco. Drugs will interfere with the medicines you are taking. The combination could damage your liver or kidneys.

Sex and birth control

CNS vasculitis does not have to stop you from having sex. But if you are a young woman, you need to talk to your doctor about birth control. There are two reasons for this:

  • Some medicine for CNS vasculitis is very harmful to unborn babies. This means you must not get pregnant while you are taking this medicine.
  • Birth control pills can cause blood clots. This can be very dangerous for women and girls with CNS vasculitis.

Tell your doctor if you are sexually active, or if you are thinking about it. Your doctor can help you choose the right method of birth control.

Key points

  • Treatment for CNS vasculitis involves medicine. Make sure you know what each pill is for.
  • If you have trouble with side effects, talk to your doctor.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol while you are taking medicine for CNS vasculitis.
  • If you are planning to have sex, talk to your doctor about birth control.

Susanne Benseler, MD

Holly Convery, RNEC, BScN