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What is Water Retention?


1st Jan 2015 Health Conditions

What is Water Retention?

Water retention occurs when fluid that should travel through blood vessels and lymph channels ebbs into cells and the tiny spaces between them

Depending on the cause, doctors sometimes treat water retention with diuretic drugs that cause the body to excrete excess fluid. But these medications can also make the body lose important minerals which, among other jobs, keep your heart beating properly. While diuretics are necessary for some medical conditions, simple self-help remedies—modifying your diet, drinking herbal teas and getting outside for a long walk several times a week—could provide all the help you need.

Chronic water retention

If fluid retention causes swelling in your abdomen or limbs and it persists for more than a week, see your doctor. Also seek medical attention if water retention causes bloating so severe that poking your skin with your finger leaves a dent in it. If fluid retention is the result of congestive heart failure or another serious disease, you should be under a doctor's care.

Top Causes of Water Retention

Knee-high socks with tight elastic at the top can cause swollen ankles.

Standing for a long time or sitting with your legs down (as opposed to being raised on a footstool) can also cause water retention in your ankles.

Fluid retention before menstruation is the result of fluctuating hormone levels that change the function of blood vessels and lymph glands.

More rarely, fluid retention is related to kidney or liver disease. In the elderly, heart failure is a common cause of fluid retention.

Depending on the cause, there are various remedies that can help reduce water retention.

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