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Why does the pred make you gain weight?

Hi All,

This is my first post..Just tring to get my head around all this info..Diagnosed last week after scopes.
I have been on pred 40mg for 6 days now.. Can anyone tell me why do you gain weight from taking pred.. is it bacause it just makes you hungry and you tend to eat more or is it from something else..
I'm not sure I want to be taking this med do I have another option?

Hi Jessasha,
Welcome! The Prednisone causes weight gain in two main ways. Firstly it causes the body to retain sodium and lose potassium, which can result in fluid retention (swelling). Secondly, it increases appetite, sometimes significantly. If you adjust your sodium intake and add potassium foods it does help. People often ride out the course and let the side effects wear off in time.
There are always treatment alternatives, depending on your exact condition and symptoms. Maybe post under "My Story" to give more details, and allow better advice?
It really is daunting at first, but you will feel better as you gain insight. Happy journey.
All the best.
Everything handle said! Pred makes you HUNGRY. Usually if you don't increase your food intake with your increased appetite, you won't have to work about long term weight gain effects. However, that is definitely easier said than done!

If you have noticed weight gain at this point, I would wager it's probably fluid retention, which should go away when you are off of the Pred. Good luck. Sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but welcome to the forum.
Definitely increases appetite. Always gain weight when I am put on this. Hate this drug with a passion, but it dies stop bleeding fairly quickly.
Hi there!

I don't believe there are any options besides prednisone just after being diagnosed. The doctors really want you feeling better right away and being on it for a little while really isn't a bad thing. I was put on 40mg at first as well and I didn't really notice weight gain. I was eating more but that was because suddenly eating food didn't equal pain 10 minutes later! Keep track of your intake if you are really worried and maybe consider an exercise routine.
Prendisone is the "frenemy" of crohn's drugs. You have to be nice to it, because it can do a lot very quickly to help you, but you really just can't wait to get away from the stuff.

I've always tried to stay positive about prendisone, because like the worst kind of 'frenemies', it's not going away anytime soon. I went on it as a child, and I had a doctor tell me that it wasn't the drug that made me gain the weight, but the bag of candy I was eating. As an adult, I took this into consideration the last time I was on this treatment. I was careful as to what I was eating, trying to stay with healthy foods. As others have stated, I was back to eating like a normal person - no pain! so I had to really watch portions in reintroducing myself to things besides toast. The side effect of the bloating and fat redistribution just makes you feel a bit 'off' even if the weight gain is very minor. On the positive side, I did have to buy all new bras which was welcomed after losing most of what little I had while being sick.


Scientifically speaking, or course, it turns me from moderation into an "are you going to eat that?" machine. Besides increasing my hunger, it gives me unfocussed, nervous energy, which has me walking all over the place, usually ending up in front of the fridge or the pantry. :( BUT, I try to keep in mind how I'd feel without it, and how much I wouldn't be eating without it.
For me it was a combo of several thinks.

1: Increased hunger ofc.
2: barely sleept at all, so lots of time to satisfy that hunger. 1 week i had a total of like 6ish hours... thats A LOT of time to eat! =)
3: Was hospitalized, for 5 weeks, because of the doze i was getting + further testing, so i was getting breakfeast - cake/coffee - lunch - cake/coffee - dinner - cake/coffee - late night snack. (and all meals where great and as much as you could eat after everyone had their turn, till they ran out pretty much) ohh ya and dinner had dessert also=)
4: Because of the pain my 1 foot was in i was barely doing any walking/excersise in general.
Interesting read. I wondered why I have gained so much weight being on Pred.
I weighed myself yesterday and almost passed out due to shock!!!
Curious..I will be done Pred in a week and was wondering how long after does the moon face and weight gain go away?


Staff member
Hi Panda33! Can I ask what dose you started at and how long you were on the highest dose and then how long have you been tapering?

I can share my experience with high doses of Pred. Trying to remember here. I took 50mg of Pred for about 3 months before I was allowed to taper. Tapered rather quickly every time (dropped by 10mg each time, can't remember if it was once a week or every 2 weeks all the way down to the end I took 5mg and then quit). I remember in high school I always rested my hand in the same place because I was bored but also because I was trying to hind my face during class. After a while I noticed my cheek taking up less of my hand until it eventually went away. I think that whole process took about 3 months.

When I was on 60mg for about a year the swelling went down in the same amount of time. About 3 months.

I'm sure it depends on the dose really and if its a short course or long term use yet I didn't notice it taking longer when I was on an even higher dose for a longer period of time (both would be considered long term use and a high dose though).

The water retention goes down rather quickly when you get off the Pred. Should take less than a month for the main puffiness to go down and the rest isn't that noticeable (I could really just feel a difference in my hand when I rested my cheek there). Other people around you will think that you went on some crazy diet cause it starts going away so quickly. I've had people ask me about it in the past. :p
When I am all done it will be exactly 3 months of prednisone. I started at 40mg and when I began tapering it has been on average 5mg per week-2weeks until I reached 10mg and then I have been tapering off by 2.5mg per week. So this week I am at 5mg and next week I will be taking 2.5mg, then stop on the 20th.


Staff member
Have you noticed the swelling go down at all yet? 40mg is in the higher dose range (I'd say 30mg and above would be in the high dose range) but it doesn't sound like you were in the higher doses for very long which may mean that you might not have that much water retention (mine was bad enough to give me stretch marks on my legs and armpits). I'm gonna guess 2 months max for it to go down fully but you should start to notice it going down within a couple weeks. Also avoid salty foods/snacks as those only help you retain more water.
Lol my vice is salty snacks like potato chips hehe.
I have noticed a slight difference in my face as well as others have too.
My gut area though is still quite round. I have always had a flat stomach so tho is the most annoying thing for me because non of my pants fit!
I also did fall victim to the "always hungry, eat everything insight" side effect!


Staff member
Could be some bloating (gas) on top of the water retention. Do your best with the salty stuff though. It really might help to reduce the water retention if you cut back. If you can. :p
Ha ha warn81. If it did I'm sure lots of people would want to take the drug. Definitely puffy round face... some water weight but that is it
My son gained weight while on Prednisone and had the puffy face as well. It wasn't so bad for him as he was 11 at the time and severely underweight at diagnosis. Many people knew he was on Pred just because of his puffy face. Avoiding salt does help, and everything returned to normal about a month after he went off. He lost about 3-4 pounds (probably extra water retention) and the other extra 20 pounds stayed. But, as I mentioned, he was very underweight. His appetite went back to normal slowly as he was tapering. The good news is, it kicked him solidly into remission where he has remained, and the side effects are long gone.