Steroids and Weight Gain

Increase in body weight need not be always caused by poor dietary choices and sedentary lifestyle. There are many external factors that can be attributed to weight gain. With the current scenario, where more than half the American population is overweight, it is essential to be informed about the other not so usual causes of obesity. Steroids and weight gain is one such topic which would be of interest to many.
Steroids and Weight Gain
Steroids are of various types. Anabolic steroids are used by body builders to develop lean muscle mass. In this article, we are going to focus on corticosteroids which are a class of drugs widely used to treat vascular conditions, arthritis, allergies, asthma etc. They help by reducing inflammation in the tissues.

Different Steroids

Cortisone – Mostly used to treat inflammation occurring in the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, these drugs bring immediate relief. They can be directly injected in the muscles to bring immediate relief from pain.

Hydrocortisone – It is used to provide relief from conditions like arthritis, colitis, asthma, bronchitis etc. It is widely used in allergic skin conditions which are normally present with swelling, redness, itching and burning. Conditions of atopical dermatitis, insect bites, poison ivy etc are treated with hydrocortisone.

Prednisone – It is used to treat allergic skin conditions like allergic dermatitis, eczema etc and skin conditions like psoriasis. It is used to treat other conditions like ulcerative colitis, Inflammatory Bowel disease, lupus, asthma etc.

The above medications in-spite of being effective in treating the underlying condition often comes with side effects.

Steroids and Weight Gain
  • Steroids and weight gain go hand in hand. This is because they affect fat metabolism. They also result in redistribution of fat. Fat deposits are noticeably higher on the abdomen, neck, face etc. The amount of weight gain varies from individual to individual.
  • Individuals on the steroid often report an increased appetite. This is also a reason why weight gain is experienced on steroids.
  • Weight gain experienced on steroids is thought to be because of the increased water retention in the body .
  • The good news is that the condition is reversible and generally the fat deposits disappear after the treatment is discontinued.
Steroids and Weight Gain – What can be done to minimize the weight gain on steroids?
  • Stay away from fats and sugars. Eat food rich in fiber which fills you up without piling on the calories.
  • It is important to eat 5 small meals throughout the day. Include some healthy snacks in between.
  • Exercising is extremely important to avoid the additional weight gain.
  • Stay away from salt or excess sodium as it will make the water retention problem worse.

It normally takes about 6 months to get back to your original weight after the treatment with steroids is completed. Steroids and weight gain, both can be well managed if one is well informed.

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