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Does Prednisone Make You Gain Weight? 6 Ways To Avoid It 2023
Prescribed steroids from your doctor can help you manage conditions such as eczema, asthma, lupus, Crohn’s disease, and arthritis. However, like with most medications, steroid use comes with its side effects, one of which is weight gain.
These tips could help you manage your weight gain from steroids without compromising their efficiency.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids known also as corticosteroids are medications with anti-inflammatory properties. They are often variations of hormones produced by your adrenal glands. For instance, steroids such as dexamethasone act by mimicking the effects of cortisol in your body.
Your adrenal glands situated above your kidneys produce specific hormones such as cortisol that regulate several body functions including metabolism and stress. Taking steroids can help reduce inflammation by switching off genes involved in the inflammatory response. This action is effective at reducing inflammation for chronic inflammatory conditions such as asthma.
Also, steroids can help depress immune responses for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Types of steroid medications include:
Many users of steroids such as prednisone find themselves gaining weight or feeling bloated as a common side effect. These tips could help you watch your weight during your treatment.
6 Ways To Avoid Gaining Weight From Steroids
Managing your weight gain from steroid use will not be an easy road. However, with some dietary changes and physical activity you could see results. These steps include:
- Exercise more
- Drink lots of water
- High potassium low sodium diet
- Plan your meals
- Eat healthily
- See your doctor
- Wait it out
6 Steps To Manage Weight Gain From Steroids 2023
Exercising can help you manage your weight gain from steroids. However, if you are experiencing inflammation in your joints that make mobility a little difficult, that might determine which types of exercises that you can try and for how long.
If your motion is restricted due to joint inflammation, you could participate in a low-impact exercise such as walking. You might want to discuss with your healthcare provider safe exercises that you can try with your joint inflammation.
If you do not have joint inflammation and your mobility is unhindered, you could participate in a couple of minutes of cardio workouts daily to burn calories and lose weight. Aerobics are great exercises for losing weight and help maintain your health and wellness. Weight training can also help you build and maintain muscle mass and burn fat.
Drink Lots Of Water
One of the ways steroid medications cause weight gain is by causing fluid retention. Steroids cause water weight gain by altering your body’s salt balance and causing sodium retention, therefore, causing water retention. Soon enough, you could start gaining weight.
Drinking lots of water to help balance the salt out is a way to manage your water weight. You might also want to cut down on foods with high salt content and carbonated drinks. So, you can drop that soda bottle and pick up a water bottle instead if you would like to lose weight.
Water can also help reduce your weight gain from taking steroids by filling you up before your meal. When you drink water before your meal, the less likely you are to overeat.
High Potassium Low Sodium Diet
Consuming a high sodium diet can increase your chances of getting fluid retention and bloating. Consider keeping your daily sodium intake under 2300mg per day to control your body’s sodium levels and reduce water retention.
Sodium and potassium have a complementary relationship in your body. Therefore, taking in more potassium can help reduce your body’s sodium content. Potassium can also help your body excrete more water by encouraging urine production. A daily intake of about 4700mg daily of potassium can be effective for controlling fluid retention.
Potassium-rich foods that you should include in your diet to help you meet your daily needs include:
- Lima beans
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning and meal prepping is an effective way of controlling your daily food intake. Meal prepping can help you plan your nutritious meals and keep you from overeating.
Instead of eating three large meals daily, consider breaking it up to six smaller meals throughout the day. That way, you can better control your increased appetite from taking steroids. Since there is a shorter gap between your meals, you will not need to indulge in unhealthy snacks.
Meal prepping also helps with portion control. So you will not exceed your daily set limit. You could also check your calorie intake so you do not exceed your daily nutrition requirements. A low-calorie diet also helps with weight loss.
In prepping your meals, consider eating a high-protein meal. Proteins help you feel fuller and you are less likely to snack in between meals. Lean proteins can help with building and maintaining muscles especially if you are strength training. Foods that are rich in fiber are a great idea too.
Fiber-rich foods help fill you up and prevent overeating. Consider including foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits in your meal plan. Foods and herbs such as garlic help in your weight loss journey.
Cutting out heavily processed carbohydrates from your diet could help you control your weight. So, your diet should feature less junk. Reducing your consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, therefore, less fried foods, mayonnaise, butter, or margarine, could help too.
See Your Doctor
If you are still experiencing uncontrollable weight gain from your steroid use despite your best efforts, you might want to see your doctor. Seeing your health provider is also your best option if you are also experiencing other side effects of using steroid medications.
Your doctor might adjust your dosage and that might be enough to reduce the unpleasant side effects you might be experiencing. If that does not work, your doctor might have to change your medication altogether.
However, you should not stop taking your steroids abruptly without talking to your doctor. You might experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, muscle ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever when you quit steroids cold turkey. They would typically need to be tapered off slowly under your health provider’s control.
Wait It Out
If you are not on steroids long-term, you might notice an improvement in your weight after your steroids therapy ends. The water weight that you have gained from fluid retention typically goes away on its own after a while when your steroid therapy ends.
Therefore, being patient with your body as it attempts to restore the normal order of things is essential. Your exercises and diets probably will not give you results in a day. Nevertheless, consistent efforts bring results and you will get them soon enough.
How Steroids Cause Weight Gain?
Weight gain and bloating are common side effects of steroid use. With steroid medication use, you might experience increased appetite. Therefore, you might find yourself eating more, causing you to gain weight.
That is why meal planning and spreading out your meals throughout the day can help you manage your weight gain from using steroids.
Steroid medications affect electrolyte balance in your body. Hence, causing water retention. They can also cause fat redistribution to your abdomen, face, and neck. You may develop the classical moon face from prolonged use of steroids.
If you are receiving steroid therapy for a condition that limits your physical activity, that might cause weight gain. That is because you might not be getting enough physical activity to burn the extra calories you might be consuming.
Steroids or corticosteroids are effective anti-inflammatory medications. However, you might experience some side effects with its use, especially weight gain, and fluid retention.
Drinking water before your meal will help you stay hydrated and keep you full so that you do not overeat. Sticking to a healthy diet filled with lean protein and high fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables will also help curb your appetite and encourage weight loss.
Exercises such as cardio and weight training depending on your physical abilities can help you burn fat.
Taking less sodium and more potassium-rich foods could help you manage the water retention that comes with steroid therapy. Your doctor can adjust your steroid therapy to reduce the unpleasant side effects that you may be experiencing.
At the end of your steroid therapy, the water weight will go down on its own so you might want to exercise some patience.
+ 13 sources
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