Water retention

Water Retention: What to Know About Swelling and Edema

Water retention, or edema, occurs when fluids build up in the body’s tissues. This is usually caused by an imbalance in the body’s sodium and water levels, which causes fluid retention. Water retention can be uncomfortable, especially when it occurs in the feet, ankles, and legs. Here is more information about water retention and how to treat it.

What Causes Water Retention?

There are various causes for water retention, but it is most commonly caused by an imbalance in the body. It can also occur due to certain health conditions, such as kidney or liver disease, congestive heart failure, or inflammatory diseases. Other common causes of water retention include taking certain medications, having poor circulation, and being pregnant or taking birth control pills.

Common Symptoms of Water Retention

The most common symptoms of water retention include:

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, and other body parts.
  • Aching joints and limbs.
  • Pain and tightness in the affected area.
  • Visible discoloration of the skin in the affected area.
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving.

Treating Water Retention

If the cause of your water retention is due to an underlying health condition, it’s important to start treatment for the condition first. Otherwise, the swelling may return. Some common ways to treat water retention include:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid salty foods and processed foods.
  • Drink herbal teas, such as orange peel tea, dandelion tea, and ginger tea.
  • Eat foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas, avocados, and vegetable juices.
  • Exercise regularly to improve circulation.
  • Wear supportive hose or compression garments to reduce swelling in the feet and legs.

When to See a Doctor

If you experience severe swelling or other symptoms and are unable to treat it at home, it’s important to consult with your doctor. Your doctor can help diagnose the cause of your water retention, and provide appropriate treatment.