The weight of a person’s body is affected by many factors, the main factor of which, undoubtedly, is calorie intake. As a close second, the level of physical activity follows. Also, a person’s weight depends on his or her genetic characteristics. However, there is one more factor that can unexpectedly lead to gaining extra pounds. These are medications, in particular cortisone, which belongs to the class of corticosteroids. Do cortisone shots cause weight gain? Read on to know more.
Causes of weight gain when taking medications
Weight gain as a result of taking various medicines is possible for the following main reasons:
- The medicine is prescribed by the doctor specifically for the person to gain extra pounds. In some cases, legal anabolic steroids may be prescribed for this purpose.
- Weight gain is the result of improvement in the patient’s condition. For example, the patient suffered from thyrotoxicosis or peptic ulcer disease, in which weight is always reduced, which is due to the course of the disease itself. Against the background of treatment with drugs that do not themselves cause weight gain, the condition stabilizes and weight returns to normal.
- The drug is taken to treat the underlying disease, and weight gain is a side effect.
In the first two cases, an increase in body weight is a joyful event for the patient, because this is the goal he or she pursued while taking the medication. But the last case is not so positively perceived by people, because often they take these medications without the goal of gaining weight. As a result, after a few weeks or months of therapy, they see a completely different face and figure in the mirror. This can lead to a depressed mood and sometimes even to depression (you might be interested to know about steroid-induced psychosis). Cortisone steroid injections belong to the third group of medications that can cause weight gain.
Why do cortisone shots cause weight gain?
Corticosteroids have many side effects: they affect the metabolism, including carbohydrate metabolism, may cause water retention, and increase appetite. Regular intake of drugs of this group certainly affects the physique. Read more about side effects of steroids.
Cortisone influences the way the body spends and stores fat. During the administration of corticosteroids, the patient can feel a strong hunger and, as a result, will gain weight due to the consumption of an unusually large amount of food. Even slender people can get a couple extra pounds of fat on their bellies, not to mention those who were initially overweight and prone to overeating.
In this case, a characteristic type of obesity is formed: excess fat is deposited on the chest, abdomen, face, neck, while the limbs and buttocks usually remain normal. The severity of these symptoms directly depends on the dose of hormones: the higher the dosage, the faster the weight increases. Long-term use of corticosteroids can cause the development of steroid-induced diabetes, which further accelerates the rate of bodyweight increase.
The case of weight gain due to cortisone injection
The newspaper The Telegraph reported the following case. One patient injected the steroid every four weeks until an infusion of Tysabri for multiple sclerosis was received. The patient reported that he gained quite a lot of weight from the beginning of treatment, despite the fact that his diet did not change. He took corticosteroid to reduce the side effects of Tysabri, which caused skin lumps.
The doctor advised the patient to do physical exercises and slightly limit the consumption of calories.
How to prevent weight gain when undergoing treatment with cortisone shots?
Gaining weight against the background of undergoing treatment with cortisone shots is a rather serious and complex problem that requires a very careful attitude of the attending physician and correction of the patient’s diet. Although it is difficult for the patient himself or herself to influence this process, it is possible: a strict diet with restriction of digestible carbohydrates and unhealthy fats (such as trans fats) will help to keep the figure in a good form despite metabolic disturbances. To ensure that cortisone treatment minimally affects your figure, you need to remember that diet and physical activity are the best assistants in the fight against excess weight. Doctors say that you should not worry about weight gain due to cortisone injections. They argue that in a few months after the end of treatment, the weight will come back to normal. Physical exercises and proper nutrition will accelerate this process.