Water retention, also called fluid retention, is medically termed edema. It is a condition wherein water is retained in the body tissues. Normally, when water leaks from the blood into the body tissue, the lymphatic system takes care of the removal of the excess water. When a person suffers from water retention, the lymphatic system is not able to properly excrete the fluids and so they remain in the body tissues. So, how does on treat water retention? Read on to find out natural remedies for water retention.
The retention of water in the body tissues are observed through swelling. This is most common in the feet and legs. It can also occur in the abdominal cavity, hands, arms, and around the lungs (called pulmonary edema). And sometimes, swelling in the face is observed.
Types of water retention
There are two main types of water retention:
1. Generalized edema – swelling occurs throughout the body
2. Localized edema – swelling occurs in specific parts of the body
Causes of fluid retention
There are various causes of water retention. Sometimes, water retention is only a symptom of another condition. And so it is important to know the causes of water retention in order to treat the condition that causes it and prevent edema from happening again or from worsening.
There is a wide range of factors that affect water retention in the body. These factors include:
• Hot weather – Hot weather causes the body to sweat more, releasing more water from the bloodstream. And if the lymphatic system cannot properly excrete the water to produce sweat, then the water is retained in the body.
• High salt intake – High salt intake can result to an electrolyte imbalance. If there are more salt in the fluid surrounding the cells, the cells will release their water to balance the system. This increases the water in the tissues.
• Nutritional deficiencies – An example of nutritional deficiency is the lack of the protein albumen. Albumen helps keep the water in the blood vessels. A lack in albumen can lead to water leaking out from the blood vessels into the surrounding tissues.
• Gravity – Gravity pulls things downward. It prevents the water from going up into the blood stream and be distributed throughout the body and later on excreted. This is mainly why most water retentions are evident in the feet.
• Burns and sunburns – Burns and sunburns damage the cells, making water leak out into the tissues.
• Certain drugs – Some drugs can cause edema as a side effect.
• Ageing – As we age, our bodies become weaker and cellular integrity degrades.
• Menopause – As women enter menopause, there are changes in the hormonal levels. The production of progesterone decreases and this results to bloating and water retention. Menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and contraceptive pills are also factors that affect water retention.
• Weight gain – It is common for healthy adults to retain small up to 5 pounds of water in the body. But people who are overweight or obese can retain 8 to 10 pounds.
• Kidney infection/disease – If the kidneys are not functioning properly, then they will not be able to filter the blood properly and remove excess water. This results to more water in the bloodstream that can leak out into the surrounding tissues.
• Thyroid problems – The thyroid produces hormones that regulate the conditions, including the amount of water, in the body.
• Hypertension – Hypertension leads to weaker blood vessels, which in turn leads to water leaking out of the vessels and into the body tissues.
Natural remedies for water retention
• Bananas, raisins – rich in potassium that helps eliminate water retention
• Celery seed, lemongrass tea, nettle – herbal diuretics
• Uva ursi, horse chestnut, buchu – have diuretic properties that promote urination and excretion of excess water
• Dandelion leaf – kidney and liver tonic and diuretic
• Olea europea – helps balance blood pressure, assists the liver and gallbladder, and improves circulation
• Ice packs – helps reduce the swelling
• Cranberry juice, cabbage – natural diuretics
• Water – treatment for premenstrual bloating only
• Avocados, blackstrap molasses, carrots, brown rice, etc. – foods rich in Vitamin B6 that reduces fluid retention
• Egg whites – rich in albumen, which strengthens the blood vessels
To prevent future cases of and to help treat water retention, here are some tips:
• Take your vitamins. Vitamins A and C help strengthen the capillaries and decrease water retention.
• Reduce salt intake. A high amount of salt in the system promotes water retention. So in order to prevent edema, avoid salty foods including processed foods and fast foods.
• Exercise. Exercise promotes the circulation of blood. This keeps the blood and excess fluid from getting stored up in your feet and legs.
• Lift your feet. When you are resting, keep your feet up by propping a pillow under them. This will also help keep water from getting logged in them.
• Reduce your intake of saturated fats. These fats clog up your lymphatic system, disabling it from removing excess fluids.
• Avoid foods that cause you allergies. These foods exacerbate water retention.
• Wear comfortable clothes; preferably loose clothing, so as not to dampen the blood circulation.
• Keep cool, especially in hot days.
• Get a massage. This promotes blood circulation and gets the lymph moving.
• Limit alcohol intake.
• Avoid smoking.
• Avoid crossing your legs while sitting. Sitting with your legs crossed limits blood flow.
• Avoid caffeine.