How to Avoid Fluid Retention and Reduce Swelling

· November 18, 2016
If you're looking for natural ways to avoid fluid retention and reduce swelling, read this article for a list of a few tips.

One thing we know about fluid retention is that it’s usually caused by the accumulation of water in the body’s tissues.

What causes it? Normally, it’s due to an imbalance between the flow of fluids from one region to another.

Your body is constantly adjusting its liquid levels to keep them in the correct proportions. When you drink more water than you need, the excess is removed through your kidneys in the form of urine or sweated out through your skin.

Problems arise when your body isn’t able to get rid of any excess fluid. The balance becomes unsustainable and causes fluid retention.

Hydration and edema

A woman with swollen legs.

Being well-hydrated and having edema aren’t the same thing. Edema, or swelling, is a clear expression of water being stored within your body (it mostly manifests in the legs).

Your legs require stronger circulation in order to remove blood properly and this is where the imbalances usually occur (for example, if you spend too much time sitting down or standing up).

Edema is usually triggered by a hormonal situation dominated by estrogen, an excess of sodium, or low blood circulation due to a sedentary lifestyle.

If fluid retention appears in the upper parts of the body (for example, in the arms, hands, or even the face), it could be due to a poorly functioning kidney.

In women, it’s very common to experience fluid retention during their menstrual cycle.

Don’t forget to read: Why Did I Have Two Periods in One Month?

The function of veins

Your veins, contrary to what you might think, aren’t sealed channels. The lining of your veins also allow for the entry and exit of fluids.

Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the mechanism that regulates this flow of fluids doesn’t work properly and they can accumulate in certain parts of the body.

Why does this happen? It could be due to several reasons:

  • It’s usually because the veins don’t have the consistency needed to retain fluids, which happens when varicose veins appear.
  • It may also occur because you’ve been standing too long and pressure has built up inside the vein.

Signs of fluid retention

A woman with fluid retention.

A clear test for fluid retention is when you press against the skin on your legs and notice that there’s a noticeable dent where you apply the pressure. You’ll see a kind of groove, and it takes a second for the skin to smooth back out.

If you can see visible swelling or inflammation regularly, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. They can help you prevent any complications that may be associated with poor circulation.

Some tips that may help remove excess fluids

A swollen hand.

  • Physical exercise is essential when it comes to avoiding fluid retention. It’s important to choose exercises that don’t require high resistance or strong muscular impacts.

Physical activity activates circulation throughout your body, especially in the legs, through the compression of the muscles against the veins.

Do you want to know more? Read: 5 Natural Ways to Fight Varicose Veins

Better circulation aids in the removal of excess fluid through your urine.

  • Compression stockings can also help prevent fluid retention, especially for people who lead very sedentary lifestyles – either because they’re always sitting down or standing up.
  • You can put the stockings on prior to starting your daily activities.
  • Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is always a good thing for the body. The same is true for fluid retention. For example, grapes are diuretic.
  • Pineapple and papaya and other fruits that are rich in potassium like bananas, melon, and watermelon are very good dietary choices if you have a tendency to retain fluids.
  • To improve the appearance of swollen ankles, try elevating your legs, which can be very helpful at different times of the day.

Place your feet above your knees, and keep your knees elevated above your hips.

  • The clothing you wear should also be comfortable. Excessively tight garments make movement more difficult and encourage fluid retention.
  • You need to get used to consuming less salt. Although your body does require a certain amount of sodium, too much of it can worsen fluid retention.
  • It’s a good idea to add aromatic herbs and plants that double as diuretic ingredients to your diet. Some good examples include horsetail grass, green tea, and dandelion tea, among others.
  • Rakova, N., Kitada, K., Lerchl, K., Dahlmann, A., Birukov, A., Daub, S., … Titze, J. (2017). Increased salt consumption induces body water conservation and decreases fluid intake. Journal of Clinical Investigation. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI88530
  • Ray, E. C., & Kleyman, T. R. (2017). An Increasingly Complex Relationship Between Salt and Water. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.ajkd.2017.07.007