Prednisone weight gain

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/28/2017 3:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi.. I'm 17 years old. I was diagnosed w Sjögren's syndrome when I was 13 but other than meds and more doctors trips, I was fine. Last year I got very sick and my entire body hurt so badly I often couldn't dress myself or even walk. My doctors told me it was in my head until they discovered I had lupus w kidney involvement. They immediately put me on chemotherapy and high pulses of steroids along w 60 mg prednisone daily (this was back in June of 2017). I weighed 120 pounds. I have now tapered down to 10 mg but I am huge. I am 160 pounds now. I'm a very small and short person and I haven't lost any weight since getting to 10 like I had hoped. Any tips on how to lose the weight ASAP? and when you began to lose the weight? None of my old clothes fit. I'm so depressed

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 11/28/2017 4:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Unfortunately, weight gain is usually a given on long term/ high dose prednisone therapy. I hear what you are saying, it sucks. For me, I had to weigh (forgive the pun) feeling good vs looking good. Feeling good and functioning wins every time.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/28/2017 5:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Tinkerbee said...
Unfortunately, weight gain is usually a given on long term/ high dose prednisone therapy. I hear what you are saying, it sucks. For me, I had to weigh (forgive the pun) feeling good vs looking good. Feeling good and functioning wins every time.

My doctors told me I would loose the weight when I got to 10 mg of prednisone. At this point I feel so ugly, I would much rather be dead than look the way I do. Staying this weight isn't an option for me

Melissa D.
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 451
   Posted 11/28/2017 10:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Some people react to prednisone differently than others so it is hard to say how quickly you will lose weight. Try to avoid carbs, it will help you lose weight faster if you do so. I know some people have a hard time doing so, especially when on prednisone.

I am one of those lucky people that does not gain weight on prednisone. I actually have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight period, but my son also has lupus and steroids have a negative affect on him so I know what you are talking about.

Please hang in there, protecting your kidneys and slowing the progression of your body attacking itself is definitely the lesser of two evils versus the weight gain. I know as a 17 year old that is hard to understand when all you want is to be normal like all of your peers.

Wishing you the best of luck with you journey.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 1827
   Posted 11/29/2017 12:44 AM (GMT -6)   
You might *start* to lose the weight now that you've gotten down to 10 mg of prednisone. But it will take time. Be patient and forgiving to yourself.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7725
   Posted 11/29/2017 11:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Unfortunately, prednisone is bad about causing weight gain. It does this in 2 ways.

1) It changes how the body metabolizes sugars and processed carbs - instead of utilizing these for quick energy, it packs them away in stored fat for use later.
2) It gives us cravings for more, more, more sugar and processed carbs.

So, to loose the weight we must attack it in both ways as well.
1) Cut out sugars and processed carbs - sugary drinks are the biggest issue for most people - potatoes, flours, any-processed carbs are also bad news. Try to stick to clean proteins and vegetables, with some fruits.
2) Exercise to burn off the excess stored fat. Long walks are manageable for most people and help. Any exercise you can do for 30-45 minutes a day will help.

Remember that it took 5+ months to gain the weight. So it will probably be at least that long to get it off. Just do what you can every day, and be gentle with yourself in the meantime.
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator, Dx: 2000
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 12/8/2017 8:07 AM (GMT -6)   
I have Sjogren’s Syndrome too, and lupus, and lots of other stuff....
I got into trouble last year when my blood platelets (that keep you from bleeding) dropped.
The protocol to fix it was high dose prednisone, 90mg.
You are right high dose is absolutely no kind of fun.
Alone with the weight gain, my hair began to come out in hands-ful, I could not stop peeing so I became serverly dehydrated and then it affected me though processes so I could barely make a sentence some days.
The regimedidn’t even work after all that so I ended up on chemo too. Go figure!😕

Did you know most of the weight is fluid? That helped my bruised ego some.
But I still have three sizes of clothes in my very full closet.
Less of size 16, more of size 14, and some of size 10-12.
I guess it took from November last year to when the high dose pred ended, to about March to go from my size 16’s to my 14’s. It happened without me doing anything at all.
I have always been a responsible eater though, as I know my body struggles enough already without
turning it into a garbage can for junk food.

So I am at 14 now, and not thrilled about it but guess what the ITP (low blood platelets) is fixed!🙂
If I want to get back to my size 10 I am going to have to work at it.
The suggestion above are good ones.
I will add again, to move, keep moving, as best you can.
An exercise bike is good, not too hard on the body for cold days, but walking is good too, even laps at the Shopping Mall.

It is understandable at your age why you would be so distraught, no young woman want to carry 60 pounds.
I get it totally. But you need to know your body is trying g so hard for you, treat it with the compassion it deserves. Like a child only a Mother could love. Your body deserves a medal from your soul.
I am 56 and I was once where you are.seemed like minutes after I married the love of my life, we were honeymooners, we did everything together. Travel, hiking, camping, very outdoors, and like staying in and watching old movies. Then it all fell apart. Like you I could not move, just wanted to sleep all the time.
Then my diagnosis. And here I am approaching 30years later.

When I think of all the things I have done, people I have met, and how much I appreciate my determination and the unending appreciation I have for my little body.....I am so darn proud of that.....and you know when I remember all that great stuff what size I was doesn’t even come into my mind.

You are new to this, and I am so sorry dear, truly I am, if not for your size, for the struggles you have endured. But also so proud of you for your strength and courage. Determination will come with time.
I have turned it into a game almost. Kind of “Oh Yea Lupus, you think so?”..... and then the determination kicks in and I begin using the tools I have gathered in my personal Luous tool box and work with my doctors to kick ass!

The other thing I can say that will help is to not be ashamed, share your story with people, you will find the ones who really like you and love you will learn great lessons from you. And they will know when things are not so good, and be able to support you better. It builds character when you are there for someone who needs a little support. By now you know that feeling and how good it makes you feel to be there for someone. Have you shared your feelings and hurt about your new, temporary size with anyone but this forum?

Being sick can bring plenty of gifts that a healthy person would not get a chance to learn.
Like, not to sweat the small stuff, that everyday you wake up is a gift, the realization of how difficult being sick can be but that there is always someone who is much worse off than you. Understanding and Compassion...all that good stuff. Strength, Courage, Pride, Determination, Reward.

This in turn gives you the knowledge of just how important a little support can be. Even if it’s a visit for tea, or a phone call. When a person is really sick, YOU KNOW now how stuck they feel and cut off from the world. I tell you it builds character and love. Humanity.

Love yourself dear, this is all new and very difficult for a young person like yourself I know.
But life is wonderful and precious and so much more than skin deep.
Do something special for yourself today, celebrate you, be so proud of you, you have to because unfortunately it’s not going away. So very sorry about that.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2017
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 12/10/2017 9:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Doug, Yes, around 10 mg, you will lose weight especially your face (moonface) will go away. I have some really bizarre photos of me when on 60mg, not pretty. I am sorry you are going ,through this at such a young age, but hopefully you will find relief soon.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 7725
   Posted 12/10/2017 9:49 PM (GMT -6)   

Unfortunately, it is NOT a given that you will loose the weight when you get below 10 mg. That certainly never happened for me and I didn't gain as much as you have. Very few people find the weight magically disappears, we've all had to work at it.

Also, prednisone weight is NOT water weight. It causes changes in metabolism that convert carbs to fat differently, thus causing the unexpected weight gain. This is real fat, and has to be lost the same way we lose any other fat.

Let us know how it's going.
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator, Dx: 2000
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde
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