Moon Face

I quickly got the Moon Face which I understand is common on steroids. I hate it. Also I am already putting on weight. Went on the diet doctor web site which is good and gives details of a low carb diet which my rheumy recommended. I am on 50 mg of Pred and wonder if the moon face goes when the dose goes down and how quickly or is it a case of dieting to loose it. I am already overweight to start with and very weak willed. Doesn't help waking at 3 am and getting up as I tend to eat at 6 am and am then hungry at 10.30 ish. Seems a minor thing compared to other peoples problems.

22 Replies

  • Yes I had "moon face" it does slowly go as you reduce the steroids. Harder to shift is the "Pred Belly" that is taking ages to reduce, although I think it has to do with age as well. It is important to eat clean and healthy. When you get hunger pangs try to eat fruit or veg.

  • Hi

    I too put on weight 2 stone and have a moon face

    Have a healthy diet it does get you down .

    However at least with the Preds I am able to do things

    So my answer is I cant do anything else to change things so instead of worrying about not being able to get into the clothes I had .

    I have just had a spot of retail therapy and brought new ones .

    I am assured the moon face does go at a lower dose .

    Good luck


  • Christine!!p I smiled when you said you are weak willed, so am I, I have such good intentions, then oooops I forget!! I worry about putting on weight and of course moon face and "tomorrow -mañana" I will diet and excercise, it's a bummer isn't it all this, my best wishes to you xx

  • I was never on such a high dose as yours (started on 20) but yes, I did get a moon face. Pictures of me four years ago show this clearly. The rest of me is still too fat, but my face has gone back to normal. I'm down to 3.5mg now and hope to be free of steroids by Christmas.

  • Hi Christine,

    Ahhh - the dreaded moon face affects most of us,unfortunately. But as others have said it does go when you get to lower doses, and although it might seem a minor problem it does affect our self esteem, which is pretty low at the beginning of these dratted illnesses.

    Very often a drink, either herbal tea or water with slice of lemon or lime, is enough to stop you feeling hungry until your next meal, but if you do really need something, then try fruit or nuts - just stay clear of the biscuits! Boring I know, but you can do it - and to reward yourself, you can have the occasional treat without feeling too guilty!

    Good luck.

  • Hey Christine,

    Yes you have the moon face and

    weight gain is part of the pred process

    ......HOWEVER!, have your vision!

    Now to the weight gain...

    You alone are responsible for the things you put in your mouth.

    I was diagnosed with PMR in 2013. Prednisone quickly relieved most symptoms, and contributed many others, including weight gain

    I have always been overweight, and initially, I was terrified about the horror stories of people gaining tons of weight while taking prednisone. I did gain a stone.

    It was apparent that I could let the weight gain run unchecked, or I could try to control it.

    Here is what I did ...

    Cut carbs as much as possible, eg., most white foods, flour based foods, sweets and bakery items Yeah, I know, all the comfort foods.

    Try to eat every meal with a protein and veggie and fruit.

    Try to limit the starchy foods to lunch meal.

    Here is a sample menue: pre-breakfast snack, banana and yogurt..

    breakfast, 2 eggs, one slice whole wheat bread with a dab of low fat margarine, fruit and water

    Snack, slices of low fat meat, fruit and or, veggies

    lunch, 2-3 slices low fat lunch meat, tuna fish, egg, or other low fat protein, Thin sliced whole grain bread, add salad, fruit, water ;

    dinner, protein, beef, chicken, pork, soy, beans, prepared low fat. salad, veggies ((try them grilled, roasted and sautéed ) limit bread at dinner , make a fruit salad for dessert (no sugar, try Splenda or other sugar-free Sweetner)

    Nighttime snack, yogurt, fruit, milk

    Any time you are craving food, drink a glass of room temp water, then eat something.

    Liberal use of seasonal fruit and veggies. I made soups using veggies and broth, thickened it up with an immersion blender, and plopped a spoonful of yogurt on top. Few calories, and it tastes like a comfort food!

    Drink lots of water, tea, etc.

    moon face goes away as pred drops.

    Weight gain can be moderated by just deciding to remain the boss over your body!

    You are the one putting every bite in your body, make sure you feed yourself mindfully.

    Nothing sinister or majical about this process.. Just keep your eyes open and make your choice to eat healthy, period!

    You will recover your old self, you will win this challenge, you do not have to gain tons of weight.

    Stop each day and give thanks for your sight. This other stuff will settle itself in time.

    Kind regards, Jerrii

  • That's great advice, you are an inspiration. Will give it a try. Have been to the supermarket and stocked up on all the right goodies. The hot weather here helps. Thanks

  • Probably the best advice I received at the beginning of my PMR journey, was to be kind to myself.... To treat myself the way I would treat a dear friend who was ill with this disorder.

    The forum is a lifesaver, information is shared quickly and mostly in words we can understand.

    Keep asking for help, the experts are here.

    😄😅. Hot where I live too

  • It's not all down to calories. Water retention caused by pred also plays a part.

    In case helpful:

  • I think we all hate the moon-face and it does tend to happen for almost everyone who is on pred - especially when you are at as high a dose as you are. Generally it does reduce along with your dose but not always.

    I remember when I couldn't deal with seeing my face at the hairdressers I looked around one day and thought - there must be an awful lot of people on pred judging by the figures and faces I see on the High Street! Obviously there aren't, and equally obviously it is all the worse for us having a "new" fat face that isn't our fault, but most people won't notice it when they don't know you and if your friends comment on it then they should learn manners! I had about 9 months on Medrol during which time I blew up like a balloon - but changing to another form of pred and then cutting carbs led to a 38lb weight loss. There is a downside though - no wrinkles on a balloon and they've appeared again! And I'm a lot older...

    Low carbs does seem the best way to go judging by quite a few of us on the forums - but there are bits to remember even with that: I eat no fruit, if I want a crunchy "occupy my mouth" feeling I cut a large chunk of cucumber and munch on that! And drink lots of water - drink a glass or two of water when you feel hungry and go and do something else for 15 mins or so, promising yourself if you are still hungry you can have something. Very often by the time you get back to it you have forgotten the hunger pangs. Once you get past the first week or so you usually find those hunger cravings fade too - removing carbs avoids the boom and bust of high blood sugar inducing insulin production which makes the BS level plummet and leaves you desperate for something to push the BS level up again, only for it all to happen all over again.

    Low carb doesn't mean low fat - it means NORMAL fat and protein. Don't use low fat options, real yoghurt only has 5% anyway - plain has no sugar and other junk in it and will leave you satisfied for far longer. Protein and fat meals will soon satisfy you far better and you won't have that sinking feeling between meals - and I used the 5:2 diet for a time to retrain my appestat. I know a lot of people who have used it who have said the same thing: after a few weeks you really do have less appetite and are satisfied with a smaller plate of food.

    And that's another thing - put your food on a smaller plate and your brain is more satisfied! Did you know that the average size of dinner plate has increased by about 4 in since we were children? In the 1960s, plates were roughly 9 inches in diameter. In the 1980s, they grew to around 10 inches. By 2000, the average dinner plate was 11 inches in diameter and now it's not unusual to find dishes that are 12 inches or even larger - especially, it seems, on a buffet or carvery table! Get out a few of your plates and put the same amount of food on different size ones and think about it - it may look very lonely and mean on your 12in dinner plate but be falling off the edges of a small one so it looks a big meal.

    Psychology can be a wonder drug!

  • I completely agree about the fats. Try a "good" fat snack like a couple of slices of avocado or a spoonful of guacamole when hunger cravings strike. You may find you are satisfied until the next mealtime.

  • Great advice but it is hard isn't it?

  • Yup - nothing about PMR and pred is a walk in the park!

  • Well at 63i I've always been at 100 lbs and while many think wow great I grew up with a complex even though Dr.s said I was healthy. My family always called me bones and to this day tell me I'm to thin but now.......they think I look great....of course I've filled out a bit due to the pred but I've always been a great eater and boy my snacks are my life. Yes my face has blossomed but the tummy really puffing out. I also eat lots of fruits and veggies but my appetite is like exploding. I'm eating constantly and wondering if anyone else experiencing this. I wake up and go to bed hungry, is this nor All? The positive is that this does of 25 has me feeling great. My next Rheumy visit end of this month and I'm thinking he may start to taper me which I'm dreading.Good luck all,


  • Sharon,

    You have experience now and can better judge how the tapering is going. Plus a lot of good advice on this forum. You are in charge, your rheumy is just an advisor. Best wishes for your success.

  • Yes I do and read everything here because It is so informative. I so appreciate all I learn and truth be told you learn more here than from any Dr.

    Best wishes to you as well.

  • Yes Sharon, I too am hungry all day long. It is awful. I feel like one of my teen age grand kids... Always lurking in other my face in the fridge. Though I am only 122lbs for my age it's fine, my tummy looks like I am eating apple pie all day long( lol)

    It's a new battle and maybe we both learn to curb the urge to eat by reading and following these ladies advise. They seem to have been there and tried that. Thanks to everyone's postings.

  • Funny my thirteen years old grandson said told me that now I'm fun because I eat more snacks like him but I'm going to start curbing these sweets. I always have been a snacked but never this much. Ok so now we start following the good advice we get here....good luck Flygirls!

  • Well at least you could take your Pred at 3am so that you are ready to face the MOB first thing in the morning!!

  • I have had a moon face for almost a year. I am now down to 5 mg of Prednisone and I am finally losing this little treasure. I even had very well meaning people touch my cheeks and ask what had happened to me. I hadn't had people touch me like that since I was pregnant 41 years ago! Some people told me what beautiful skin I had.

    Anyway, it's part of the Prednisone journey, but I do have my eyesight On good days, I could laugh at the situation. Other days, my cheeks felt so stretched that I felt like I could pop.

    It will go away when you get on the low doses. Until then, smile when you can. Your light will still shine.

    Best wishes to you on your progress.

  • For some reason my cravings have eased off and I've lost weight so now am at my pre-Prednisone weight. But you'd never know it because my shape is very different and I look fat. I've almost got used to the moonface but the belly is huge and a dressing nightmare because clothes actually fall down when there's no waist to anchor them. My pants have to sit below the buldge almost at the crotch....sorry, tmi, but it's very unsightly especially in summer clothes....


  • Yes, I put on weight because of inactivity with unmanaged PMR - but it was sort of all over. Then, when I started taking pred 7 years ago it redistributed, no weight gain as such but it moved to face and midriff and eventually the buffalo hump. On Medrol I put on far more weight - but the switch to Lodotra and the strict avoidance of carbs led to the midriff fat melting away.

    There have been a few publications recently about the low carb and the Newcastle approach with a short period of 800 calories a day that has such a dramatic effect on Type 2 diabetes that suggest they work because of reducing the abdominal fat around the organs - the stuff that is felt to be such a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

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