How To Reduce Water Retention?

How To Reduce Water Retention

Water retention or edema is a symptom of an underlying problem or condition such as dehydration, constipation, hormonal changes, excessive salt intake, cardiac or renal disease. The water retention, which mainly affects women, is characterized by a feeling of heaviness in the legs, visible swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs, a noticeable increase in weight.

Read Also: Swelling In Legs, Feet, and Ankles – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

If you are a woman who is still menstruating, look at your calendar

Water retention is a classic symptom of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Hormonal modification at certain dates in the cycle can lead to water retention problems. For most women, this period begins one to two weeks before the start of menstruation  [1].

  • Water retention is a recurring problem during pregnancy or menopause, for the same reasons of hormones. Depending on the case, these hormonal changes result in permanent water retention, cyclic or limited in time.

If your water retention is not related to the hormonal cycle, consult your doctor for further analysis.

  • Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may have various blood tests or urine tests. It will be able to see if your organs (heart, kidneys, liver, blood and lymphatic systems, thyroid) work well. It may ask you if you are subject to osteoarthritis or allergies, all conditions that can result in water retention  [2].

Also, check with your doctor soon if you have any of the following symptoms in addition to water retention:

swollen feet, legs, and ankles, abnormal swelling of the abdomen, coughing that does not pass, or significant fatigue.

  • The water retention following a heart problem is explained by a problem of blood pressure. The legs, feet, ankles start to swell. Water can also accumulate in the lungs, resulting in a chronic cough. Your doctor will then prescribe blood tests, a chest X-ray, or an electrocardiogram (ECG) if this water retention is of cardiac origin.
  • A urine test may show a loss of protein in the kidneys and perhaps a more serious problem in these organs.
  • A physical examination and/or blood test will show if the problem lies with the liver. If this organ is affected, it can be characterized by swelling of the lower limbs (feet, ankles, legs) and abdomen. This last symptom is indicative of a serious problem in the liver.
  • Blood tests will show whether retention is related to a problem in the circulatory system (capillaries, for example), the lymphatic system or the thyroid (hypothyroidism)  [3].

Keep a food book

Note for a few days everything you eat and see what causes water retention. There is always a gap of a few days between the ingestion of food (salted, most often) and the appearance of retention.

  • Malnutrition or some sensitivity to certain foods can lead to water retention. If you have certain food allergies but do not take it into account, or if you generally do not eat well, include it in your notebook. You can then change your eating habits.
  • Too much salt intake and dehydration are some of the main causes of water retention. How to properly hydrate and eat balanced, these are the topics that will now be discussed in the section to reduce water retention by dieting  [4].

Stay hydrated to reduce water retention

It is said to drink 1.5 liters of water a day – this is the minimum amount to not feel thirsty and have clear urine. People who practice a more physical profession need more water. Water is consumed in different forms (vegetables, fruits, drinks …), but only water can hydrate you well. If you have water retention, be sure to stay hydrated, because, by a survival mechanism, the body tends to store water if it runs out  [5].

  • Drink plenty of water, fruit juices, herbal teas, and any non-caffeinated drinks. Your kidneys will better evacuate any excess water.
  • Do not consume coffee and alcohol, which contributes to some dehydration.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and those with high levels of fructose (such as sodas, mixed fruit juices). They are often the cause of weight gain and can lead to certain diseases  [6].

Sugary drinks and sodas are very dangerous for your health. how harmful they are? you can read by clicking the link: Harmful Effects of Soft Drinks on Human Body

Remove or reduce salt intake

Diets rich in sodium systematically cause water retention.

  • Avoid consuming industrial food products, cold cuts, biscuits and other products containing salt.
  • Do not salt on your plate! Avoid aperitifs (salted peanuts, tortillas …)
  • For your meals, choose vegetables and fresh fruits (not canned!), Cereals, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Keep a close eye on how much salt you put in your dishes. Do not exceed the amount of salt given in your recipes. Give preference to low-salt recipes (which you will find in specialized books or on the Internet)  [7].

If you want to know which foods are super healthy you can just read them here: 50 Foods That Are Super Healthy

Make a balanced diet with whole-grain cereals, vegetables, fruits and any food containing fiber

  • Six servings of cereals (at least half of which must be complete cereals – see on your packages) are recommended daily. One portion maybe a slice of bread or 120 g of rice, pasta or cereals.
  • We recommend you four vegetable servings each day. Vary the vegetables you eat (it’s not about eating only potatoes or corn, you have to consume other vegetables). One portion may consist of raw vegetable leaves (spinach, cabbage, lettuce – about a small bowl), half a bowl of cut, raw or cooked vegetables or 100 ml of vegetable juice. If you buy industrial vegetable juice, check the amount of salt incorporated.
  • We recommend you four fruit portions each day. Again, vary the fruits you eat. One of the portions may be a medium-sized fresh fruit (eg a peach), 50 to 70 g of dry fruit, 120-150 g of canned or frozen fruit or 120 ml of fruit juice. If you buy canned fruits or industrial juices, check the amount of added sugar. If there are too many, do not buy them  [8].

As always, check the list of ingredients that go into the composition of industrial products

Drop products that contain, for example, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrite (E250), butyl hydroxyanisole (E320), salt, sodium benzoate (E211), potassium sorbate (E202), chemical sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, sucralose), corn syrup, palm oil and food colors (red, blue, green and yellow). Certainly, it’s binding, but it’s about your health. These ingredients are hidden everywhere, but especially in the following products:

  • frozen products (fried chicken, French fries, TV trays),
  • cans (beans, meats, vegetables, fruits),
  • prepared dishes sold in cardboard boxes (pasta and rice),
  • children’s cereals,
  • some drinks (sodas of course, but also tea ready, fruit juice and flavored water)  [9]

Take the time to cook

Instead of systematically turning to prepared dishes, take the time to cook. For your health, the difference will be enormous.

  • This meal preparation can be an opportunity for a family reunion by involving everyone. It’s very funny and everyone will bring their know-how or ideas.
  • It is not forbidden to use industrial products. Just take certain precautions, such as, for example, rinse vegetables in a box to get rid of their salt.

Do 20 minutes of exercise a day to reduce water retention

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy life and has been proven to reduce water retention.

  • Walk around your home or hike with family or friends.
  • Ride a bike, jog, swim.
  • Play basketball or football.
  • If it’s not too far, go to work or do your shopping on foot or by bike. By doing so, you will also act for the health of the planet. When it comes to cycling, do not forget to wear a helmet and respect the Highway Code.
  • When cleaning, put on some music and dance while polishing. You see! All means are good for exercise  [10].

Elevate your feet and legs

Standing for long hours or sitting all day causes some poor circulation and therefore swelling of the feet and calves.

  • Lie down or sit with your feet elevated.
  • When lying down, make sure your feet are raised about 30 centimeters from your heart. To raise them, you can stuff pillows or blankets  [11].

If you have a marked PMS, increase your attention during your diet and respect the lifestyle you have been advised to take

Women who experience SMP have great cravings for salt and sugar. Be careful not to succumb to it especially if during the two weeks before your period, you are prone to cramps and bloating. It has been shown in those women that regular physical activity improves things.

  • If you scrupulously follow your diet and live a healthy life, but you feel cramps or bloating every month, at more or less fixed dates, talk to your gynecologist. You may be suffering from a dietary deficiency that a nutritionist or gynecologist can remedy  [12].

If you follow a strict diet and are sensitive to certain foods, always ask your doctor for advice on whether to take certain dietary supplements

A deficiency of protein, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B5, and B6 will only aggravate your water retention problem.

  • Your doctor (or any nutrition specialist) can know if you miss something by just reading your food book.

Do you know vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water are six essential nutrients which are very important for our health? If you still don’t know about them you can read about them by clicking the link given here:

Six Essential Nutrients Which Are Important For Your Body

Ask your doctor to prescribe a natural diuretic to reduce water retention

Some herbal plants have an effective draining power by acting on the kidneys.

  • Thus, dandelion is known for its diuretic properties and can be drunk without limits because it has no side effects. Pour 10 to 20 drops of mother tincture of dandelion into your dishes (salads, hot dishes).
  • Chinese angelica (“Dong Quai“) is also effective, but it must be taken at bedtime in an herbal tea because this plant has slightly sedative effects. Some commercially available teas contain this angelica, but the latter is also sold as a liquid concentrate. You can put a few drops in your tea or tea. The “Dong Quai” is also known for its antiseptic (bacteria) benefits.
  • Essential oils used in sprays, for gargles, baths and massages can help fight water retention. Lavender, rosemary, geranium, and cypress are considered effective  [13]

Ask your doctor for a diuretic medication (either over-the-counter or prescription).

  • “Loop diuretics”, such as Lasix, are the most prescribed because they inhibit the reabsorption of sodium into the blood, allowing the body’s water to be drained and evacuated through natural channels. These diuretics especially recommended for people with kidney failure, cirrhosis or heart problems. Since they often lead to the elimination of potassium, which leads to osteoporosis, there are some with potassium supplementation (Lasix K).
  • Among all diuretics, there are two particular families: thiazides, which act as loop diuretics and distal diuretics (“potassium-sparing”), such as spironolactone, which inhibits the absorption of sodium, but not potassium.
  • As always, some medications, prescribed or over-the-counter, may interact with diuretics. This is why you should always seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist before taking a new medicine.

The Bottom Line

You can use all these methods to reduce water retention but we recommend to visit your doctor if you have serious issues.

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About the Author: Usman Babar

A businessman by profession. blogger by luck. Love to write about Health and Fitness.

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