How to Avoid Fluid Retention and Reduce Swelling
The one thing we do know about fluid retention is that it’s usually caused by the buildup of water in the body’s tissues.
What causes this? Normally, there’s 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 it’s 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 gives rise to so-called fluid retention.
Hydration and edema
Being well hydrated and having edema are not the same thing. Edema, or swelling, is a clear expression of water being stored within your body (it mostly shows up 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 or standing).
Edema is usually triggered by a hormonal situation dominated by estrogen, an excess of sodium in the diet, or low blood circulation due to leading 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 your 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 allows 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 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 your fluid retention is occurring on a regular basis and you can see visible swelling or inflammation, 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 to remove excess fluids and end your problems with inflammation
- Physical exercise is essential when it comes to avoiding fluid retention. Most important is 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 sitting or standing.
- 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. Among other things, some of these – such as grapes, for example – have the effect of eliminating excess fluids.
- Pineapple and papaya, and other fruits that are rich in potassium like bananas, melon, and watermelon, are very helpful 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, in excess 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, dandelion tea, and more.