Prednisone Side Effects And Warnings

Learn Facts and Information About Prednisone, Both Side Effects and Benefits

Water Retention (Bloating) Caused by Prednisone

Water Retention (Bloating) Caused by Prednisone

Prednisone is a corticosteroid medication prescribed by doctors to reduce inflammation-related disorders like arthritis, lupus, some cancers and allergies[1]. Although Prednisone has major beneficial effects regarding illness, it has also many side effects including weight gain caused by water retention. In addition, fat redistribution can affects patients taking corticosteroids. Many of them have fat pads in the back of the neck or other unusual areas of the body, which can be mistaken for lymph nodes[2]. Water retention leads to swelling and this is why patients gain weight and start looking puffy, especially around the face. Prednisone can also have a major impact on your food intake by increasing your appetite.

Eating more often leads to weight gain, so one solution to avoid this is to reduce the calories you consume every day. For example, change your meal habits and eat three or more small meals per day instead of two large ones. You should avoid certain types of foods when taking Prednisone, such as soy sauce, which contains a lot of salt, and other salty snacks including ham, pizza and fast-foods, pickles and French fries. Your daily sodium intake should be no more than 2 grams in order to prevent fluid retention[3]. These foods should be replaced with potassium-rich foods like milk, bananas, apricots, prunes, citrus fruits or raisins. Potassium prevents water retention, while sodium promotes sodium retention. Another method of avoiding weight gain is by eating frequent meals rich in fibers in order to help your digestion. Include high-calcium foods in your daily diet, such as cheese and milk in order to prevent loss of bone density caused by Prednisone.

To control your appetite, you should focus on the proteins you eat. If you follow a diet in which 35% of the calories you eat come from proteins, you are more likely to lose weight quicker than people who have a diet that is largely based on carbohydrates[4]. Keep your blood sugar levels steady by eating healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and quinoa. Avoid sweets, jelly and honey.

Fitness can help you lose the extra weight accumulated during a long-term therapy with corticosteroids, so incorporate healthy exercise into your daily routine. Weight loss should be slow and steady in order not to regain the weight accumulated after Prednisone treatment. When the drug dose is tapered down, the water retention will decrease. Healthy eating and regular exercise will do the work for you. If you have a lung disease, physical activity can be difficult, but you can still exercise by having a daily 30 minutes walking schedule or even light aerobic exercise to improve the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Moderate or soft physical activity will strengthen your muscles and keep your joints healthy.


  1. Lupus Foundation of America, Treatment for Lupus, July 2013
  2. Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center, Division or Rheumatology, Treatments - Prednisone, 2015
  3. Crivineanu M., Nicorescu V., Ed. Printech, Basis of Pharmacology, 2016
  4. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008

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