How to Tell if You’re Retaining Water

April 29, 2018

Water retention is more likely to occur in obese or sedentary people and people with poor diets. 

Water retention is very common in women. This condition tends to develop when the body begins to retain more water than it should. Its symptoms usually appear with other conditions such as kidney, heart, or liver problems.

Sometimes water retention is caused by obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, menstrual cycles, and by having an unbalanced high-sodium diet. It may also occur during menopause and pregnancies.

The symptoms will be milder or more severe depending on how much water your body is retaining. You are most likely suffering from this if you feel bloated, have difficulties losing weight and are gaining weight. If you suspect that you’re retaining water, then the following can help you detect and prevent it from happening.

Water Retention Symptoms

Symptoms may vary depending on the location and the amount of water you’re retaining. However, these are the most common ones:

Want to know more? Read: 5 Diuretic Infusions to Eliminate Liquids


swollen legs

  1. Look at your feet and legs. These are the first places where you can detect water retention. Unusual heavy, swollen and tired legas are a good warning sign. 
  2. Swollen ankles are another sign of water retention. Your ankles are sensitive to these ailments. Therefore, it’s common for them to swell and feel as if your shoes are too snug. 
  3. You should also look at your hands and wrists.  If you are having troubles putting on your ring, bracelets and watches, it is mostly happening because your body is retaining water.
  4. A puffy face can be another symptom. If you’re usually a lot thinner and notice your cheeks are bigger, it can be a sign that something’s wrong.
  5. The belly is one of the most affected areas. The swelling is so noticeable. You look fatter and you swell up even more as the day goes by.

Joint Pain

Keep track of  joint swelling and the other areas mentioned earlier. Check if there is any pain on these areas and on your joints. If you have constant pain and it hurts standing up or sitting down for long periods of time, then this is a sign of water retention.

Skin Indentations

skin indentations

This means you see marking after applying pressure to your skin. A good example is the after effects of wearing socks or stockings. If they normally fit and you’ve recently noticed visible marks after taking them off, then most likely your legs or ankles are swollen.

Also, if you put pressure on the swollen area and it causes an indentation that persists for some time, it may be due to water retention. This is known as pitting edema.

See also: 8 Foods to Avoid When You Have Inflammation


woman weighing herself

When you’re retaining lots of water, you may gain weight. If you exercise and haven’t eaten anything weird lately and you’ve gained weight, it may be due to water retention. Weigh yourself daily, especially during the mornings and afternoons. Keep track of any changes and having a “chubby” appearance.

Preventing Water Retention

  • Follow a low-sodium diet. Salty and over seasoned foods make it more likely to suffer from water retention.
  • Don’t eat junk food. Junk foods are high in salt and contain chemicals.
  • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle and start exercising. Physical activity allows your body to eliminate toxins. If you don’t, these toxins may make this problem even worse.
  • If you tend to get stressed out or live under a lot of pressure, we recommend lightning the work load. These two factors make water retention a lot more aggressive.
  • You should get up every 30 minutes in the office, especially if you work at a desk. This helps prevent water retention in your legs, feet, and ankles.

If you think you’re suffering from this problem, it’s best to see a doctor and tell him/her about your symptoms.

Baffet, H., Robin, G., & Letombe, B. (2015). Menopausia. EMC – Ginecología-Obstetricia.

Pavón De Paz, I., Alameda Hernando, C., & Olivar Roldán, J. (2006). Obesidad y menopausia. Nutricion Hospitalaria.