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The Facts About Fluid Retention


Do you sometimes feel bloated?  Maybe your shoes are tighter than normal or your ring isn’t fitting quite right.  It’s probably fluid retention.  While it is uncomfortable, there are some natural ways to find relief.

Symptoms of Fluid Retention

Fluid retention symptoms can include:

  • Swelling of the affected body parts
  • Commonly affects the feet, ankles, and hands
  • Aching in the affected body parts
  • Feeling stiff in the joints
  • Rapid weight gain over days or weeks
  • Unexplained weight fluctuations
  • When pressed, the skin may hold the indent for a few seconds

Common Causes of Fluid Retention

Common causes of fluid retention include:

  • Gravity – long periods of standing allows fluid to pool in the tissues of the lower leg
  • Hot weather – the body can be less efficient at removing fluid from tissues during hotter weather
  • Burns – the skin retains fluid and swells in response to burn injuries
  • Menstrual cycle – some women experience fluid retention in the two weeks prior to menstruation
  • Pregnancy – hormones encourage the body to hold on to excess fluid
  • The Pill – oral contraceptives that contain oestrogen can trigger fluid retention
  • Dietary deficiency – such as insufficient protein or vitamin B1 in the diet
  • Medications – certain drugs are known to cause fluid retention
  • Chronic venous insufficiency – the weakened valves in the veins of the legs fail to efficiently return blood to the heart

Dandelion and Fluid Retention

Dandelion extracts are well known for their diuretic action.  Dandelion root is also used to help treat high blood pressure (a risk factor for edema) – as its water eliminating ability reduces the water content in the blood, which helps to lower blood pressure.  This is how prescription medications work.

Nettle Leaf and Fluid Retention

Nettle leaf has the ability to help combat water retention and edema.  The leaf of the plant is effective against edema while the root is used for prostate problems.  Do not confuse the two as the roots contain natural plant chemicals that influence male hormones while the leaves contain active ingredients that help with edema, particularly silica which is a diuretic.

Put your Feet Up

To help with water retention, put your feet up at regular intervals throughout the day and regularly rotate your ankles to prevent fluid build up in the legs.

Diet and Fluid Retention

Cut down on the salt in your diet and eat more foods that are rich in potassium.  The fluid regulating action of the kidneys is based on the dual pumping action of sodium and potassium.  Sodium draws water into the body and potassium helps to excrete it.  Therefore, to reduce water retention, limit salt and eat potassium rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus, and sunflower seeds.  Fresh parsley, added to meals, is a natural diuretic that helps to cleanse the blood and stimulates the movement of toxins through the kidneys.  Vitamin B6 can help in cases of mild fluid retention.  Vitamin B5, calcium, and vitamin D help the body to excrete excess fluids.

Water and Fluid Retention

Also ensure that you drink plenty of water.  While you may think that it’s a good idea to drink less water if you’re suffering from water retention, it is not drinking water that causes you to retain fluid.  Rather, drinking plenty of water promotes proper kidney functioning and this is vital as the kidneys excrete excess water from the body.  However, avoid tea, coffee, and alcohol as these are dehydrating and can cause fluid retention.

Exercise and Fluid Retention

Exercise can relieve the body of excess fluid and salt through sweating, increased breathing, and ultimately, increased urine flow.  Walking up and down the hallway or climbing a flight of stairs every hour or so will reduce the fluid retention that can develop when you sit for long periods of time.


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