Understanding Water Retention: Symptoms, Causes, and How To Treat It Naturally

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

Jia Hui

Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can.

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Was there ever a time when you noticed that your hands or feet looked swollen? You must not disregard such signs because they can already mean that you have oedema or water retention. You never know, but the fluid retention you’re experiencing may already be signifying you of an underlying medical condition.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about water retention or fluid retention. Learn about the symptoms of fluid retention, how to decrease water retention, how to remove water retention, and what to do to avoid water retention from happening often. Let’s also understand the basics of the natural ways to deal with water retention.

Water Retention or Fluid Retention – What Is It?

About 60% of the human body is made up of water, which is essential to the body’s efficient operation. Water dissolves nutrients in your system and helps the body get rid of waste.

Fluid retention or water retention occurs when the body is unable to flush out excess fluid. Although the fluid buildup is usually brief and readily treated, water retention can occasionally indicate serious health conditions.

It is crucial to speak with your doctor if water retention persists for more than a week to identify its source and rule out any underlying medical conditions. However, the discomfort of the fluid buildup can be promptly and readily reduced when a significant medical condition does not cause water retention.

Oedema or fluid retention happens when too much water is in the body’s tissues, which swells the body, causing the fluid retention symptoms. The pressure on the capillaries is increased by high blood pressure in the veins, frequently resulting in water retention. The abnormal alterations in the blood vessels and lymphatic system are commonly linked to dietary patterns.

You must never take fluid retention lightly, especially when it happens to older patients living at old folks home. The patient may suffer from pains and discomfort if you don’t find ways to attain fluid balance and remove excess fluid.

Water Retention or Fluid Retention – The Signs and Symptoms

Although water retention can occur anywhere on the body, it is more typical to see it in the extremities, which include the lower legs, ankles, feet, arms, and hands. Some of the common signs of water retention include the following:

  • The unusually bigger size of the abs
  • Pressing the skin for several seconds will cause a pit or dimple to be retained longer than usual in the part of the skin that was pressed
  • Skin looks shiny or stretched
  • The body tissues beneath the skin is puffy or swollen

While these are common symptoms that may get better with home remedies, there are times when symptoms like these happen, along with chest pain, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath. If this happens, get the patient treated by a doctor immediately. The signs may be pointing to excess fluids in the lungs, called pulmonary edema, which needs prompt medical attention.

On the other hand, there are times when retaining water happens as a symptom of certain medical conditions, including the following:

  • Side effects of certain medications, including high blood pressure medication
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs
  • Pregnancy
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney diseases
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Problem with the immune system
  • Blockage in the blood vessels
  • Thyroid disease

Addressing the symptoms and causes of water retention as they happen is crucial in relieving fluid retention and attaining fluid balance. You must do this regardless of the patient’s age, especially if caring for someone in a elderly studio apartment in Singapore. If not, the symptoms may develop into complications that can be painful and uncomfortable, which include:

  • High risks of skin ulcers
  • Minimal elasticity of the muscles, joints, veins, surrounding tissues, and arteries
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Scarring between tissue layers
  • Swollen tissue at high risk of getting infected
  • Stretched skin feels uncomfortable and itchy
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty moving and walking
  • Painful swelling

The inability to lose weight despite efforts to eat healthily is another sign of excess water in the system. The physical manifestations of water retention are more noticeable, such as unexpected weight gain and swollen ankles. Additionally, people could feel as though their stomachs are enlarged and discover that their rings no longer fit comfortably.

By recognizing the symptoms, you will instantly realize that something is not functioning properly and you are having a poor circulation. The thumb can be used to gently press the foot, ankle, or calf while applying slow, consistent pressure to see whether there is any water retention. An imprint will show up on the skin if oedema is present. It is crucial to remember that a professional assessment is still required to identify the underlying cause of leg swelling.

An individual can retain water weight up to 5 pounds, most of which is contained in the fluid surrounding cells in the body. Due to their higher calorie intake, which frequently includes increased sodium consumption—a primary cause of water retention—obese people tend to retain more water.

In the affected locations where extra fluid builds up, certain types of oedema might cause mild pain. Symptoms like headaches, morning stiffness, and carpal tunnel syndrome could also accompany the swelling. Additionally, the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be confused with or made worse by water retention.

Water Retention or Fluid Retention – The Types

There are two main fluid retention types, each with unique traits. Generalized oedema, the first kind, is characterized by swelling that spreads across the body. Localized oedema, which only affects certain regions of the body, is the second form. Localized oedema can affect the face, hands, and arms, but it most frequently affects the legs and feet.

Lymphedema is a particular type of localized oedema. This condition develops when fluid builds up in a leg or arm due to a lymphatic system blockage or obstruction, which acts as the body’s secondary circulatory system. Either genetics or damage to the lymphatic veins can cause lymphedema. Severe weariness, skin darkening, a sensation of heaviness in the swollen limb, and eventual distortion of the affected area are all signs of this type of fluid retention.

The Causes of Fluid Retention

Certain food types may cause unfavourable reactions in some people, leading to excessive water retention. Additionally, a lack of protein, anaemia, and a greater requirement for vitamins and supplements can all contribute to water retention. A suggested diet promotes the body’s disposal of extra fluid to alleviate water retention; plus, water balance must be monitored.

Medical diseases that affect the liver, heart, or kidneys can also have the side effect of causing water retention in the body. The body tends to retain fluid in a particular location when that area isn’t operating properly. Specific medical problems can hamper the body’s capacity to properly remove the fluid.

Standing for long periods can cause fluid to build up in the legs, aggravating water retention. Like cold weather, hot weather can increase fluid retention since the body finds it hard to eliminate extra fluid. Water retention is another side effect of some drugs, particularly those for high blood pressure and steroids.

Around 75% of the initial weight loss while losing weight quickly is made up of water. The body is forced to store carbs and break down muscle protein when energy intake is severely reduced for weight loss objectives. Since protein and carbs store water in their cells, cutting back on both nutrients when on a diet promoting quick weight loss causes water loss. As a result, those who lose weight quickly frequently gain it back within a few weeks when their bodies refill their water reserves.

Due to hormonal changes, women are more likely to have fluid retention. Menopausal and premenstrual oedema are two conditions caused by hormones’ effects on fluid balance. Water retention can also result from hormonal changes before a period, which can also cause symptoms like breast pain.

Reduce Water Retention Through Diet Changes

Although water retention might be uncomfortable, altering one’s diet can help the body retain less water. You can successfully control water retention by having a low salt diet, more potassium, more magnesium, staying hydrated, and using natural diuretics.

You never know, but poor diet may have caused the problem. You must already be lacking from vitamin B6 and other essential nutrients in your daily diet. Relieve water retention by doing the following diet tips:

Limit your salt intake

A common cause of water retention is consuming too much salt. Fast food, processed foods, and canned goods frequently have excessive salt content. You can support the maintenance of healthy fluid balance in the body by having less salt consumption. Besides, this unhealthy habit may lead to kidney disease.

Choose fresh, healthy foods, such as leafy green vegetables, and season them with herbs and spices rather than salt to add taste.

Eat more potassium-rich foods

Since potassium assists the body balance fluids and balance sodium’s effects, include foods like bananas, avocados, oranges, spinach, and sweet potatoes in your diet. These foods can support healthy fluid balance and assist in preventing water retention.

Keep hydrated

Water retention can be exacerbated by dehydration since the body holds onto water when dehydrated to keep fluid equilibrium. Drinking water can counter the ill effects of water retention. Throughout the day, drink enough water to sustain hydration and encourage appropriate fluid levels. Dandelion tea is one example of a natural diuretic that can help with water retention.

Increasing magnesium intake

It may help decrease water retention because magnesium is involved in many enzymatic processes in the body. Nuts, healthy grains, dark chocolate, and leafy greens are all excellent sources of magnesium. Consider including these items in your diet, or ask your doctor about magnesium supplements.

Watch your carbohydrates intake

You have to watch your carb intake because it might cause the body to retain water. Consume more complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, brown rice, and vegetables, as opposed to refined and processed carbohydrates. In addition to reducing water retention, this can improve general health.

Avoid trigger foods

Certain foods or food groups can cause certain people to become dehydrated. Dairy products, gluten, and particular artificial sweeteners are frequent offenders. Consider limiting or removing such things from your diet if you discover a relationship between a certain food and water retention to see if your symptoms get better.

Include natural diuretics

Some foods and drinks contain diuretic characteristics that encourage the generation of urine and can aid in reducing water retention. Cucumber, watermelon, celery, ginger, and herbal teas like dandelion or green tea are a few examples. Utilize these natural diuretics in your diet to promote fluid loss.

Finding the best strategy for you is essential because every person may have unique triggers or reactions to dietary changes. For a full assessment and individualized advice, it is advised to speak with a healthcare expert, especially if water retention persists or is accompanied by severe symptoms.

Reduce Water Retention Through Lifestyle Changes

You can encourage a healthy fluid balance and reduce the signs and symptoms of water retention by doing the following lifestyle changes:

Keep moving

Being physically active will enhance circulation, encourage fluid drainage, and reduce water retention. Spend at least 30 minutes each day doing something you enjoy, such as walking, regular exercise, swimming, or yoga. To prevent fluid retention in the legs, avoid standing or sitting for extended periods.

Sustain a balanced nutrition

Consume more unprocessed foods that are high in nutrients. Your meals should contain a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and entire grains. Avoid processed food and excessive salt, as these might cause fluid retention.

Limit alcohol intake

Alcohol can cause dehydration and interfere with your body’s natural capacity to maintain fluid balance. Drinking too much alcohol might cause water retention, so it is best to drink in moderation or abstain from it if you can.

Reduce stress

Prolonged stress can have an impact on a number of physiological processes, including fluid balance. The body’s ability to retain fluid might be affected by stress hormones. Take part in stress-relieving activities like yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation, or enjoyable hobbies. Put self-care first to control stress levels, boost your mental health, and perhaps lessen water retention.

Elevate your legs

Elevating your legs above heart level will help to reduce water retention if you have oedema in your legs or feet. Use a recliner chair or lie down and elevate your lower extremities with pillows. This may aid in encouraging fluid drainage and reducing oedema.

Compression and massage

Massage and compression techniques can assist in improving circulation and decrease water retention in the affected body parts. Compression stockings are a good example of a compression garment. Fluid drainage can be facilitated by massage, which increases lymphatic flow.

Always keep in mind that every person will react differently in ways to reduce water retention. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the strategy that works best for you or a patient staying in a senior group home in Singapore. A healthcare expert should be consulted if water retention persists or is accompanied by severe symptoms for a more thorough assessment and medical treatment.

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