Top 5 Reasons people retain water

Although the human body is mostly made of water, it is not normal for people to gain weight because of excessive water accumulation in the body. This condition, in fact, is the result of an imbalance not only in water but in the important electrolytes and minerals (sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc.) that our body needs. Water retention can also be a wake-up call for you that you may be developing a serious medical problem.

Best evaluated and addressed by a healthcare specialist, water retention can be caused by one of these five major reasons:

running girl1. Dietary Habits

The consumption of excess sodium is the main culprit in water retention. Sodium can be found in large quantities in processed foods, restaurant dishes (especially fast food), and even in foods, you may not suspect (salad dressing, cereals, and canned soup). When possible, cook at home using filtered water and low sodium recipes and read labels carefully before purchasing food products.

Nutritional deficiencies (vitamins B1, B6, and B5, and protein) can also trigger water retention. You should also be aware that a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet can put unnecessary strain on the kidneys, the organ responsible for controlling water in our bodies. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering a number of substances and can become strained if they have to detoxify and eliminate unusually high quantities of protein.

2. Lack of Exercise

Whether it is too much standing, sitting for long periods of time, lying down because of injury, sickness, pregnancy, or not having a very active lifestyle, lack of exercise is a major reason for water retention. When you exercise, you force the veins to carry back waste products and used-up blood to the heart, which, in turn, cleans that blood, with the aid of other organs. This aids in the secretion (much of it through the bladder) of excess fluids.

People who don’t exercise, on the other hand, often develop swollen limbs, over-burdened organs, and weight gain. Exercise is, in fact, one of your best defenses against water retention.

3. Medications

Prescribed and OTC (over-the-counter) medications are often the reason people retain unnecessary fluids. These usually include steroids (corticosteroids, etc.), contraceptives containing estrogen, high blood pressure drugs (nifedipine, diltiazem, and verapamil), antidepressants (phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and desipramine), hormones, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs may interfere with the natural processes of fluid removal from our bodies, such as by affecting electrolytes, interfering with hormonal levels, or putting unhealthy pressure on vital organs.

You should not stop taking a medication because of water retention without first consulting your doctor. However, you should make your doctor aware of any changes in your body as a result of taking any medication.

4. Disease

Many medical conditions can pressure the body into retaining water. Some of the more common ones include high blood pressure (hypertension), chronic venous insufficiency, cirrhosis of the liver, malignant lymphedema, hypothyroidism, allergic reactions, hepatorenal disease, and congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF, for example, leads to compromised blood pressure, which, in turn, makes it more difficult for kidneys to drain the blood of excess fluids and waste by-products. One common remedy is to prescribe diuretics to help the body get rid of excess fluids.

Ironically, water retention can be an important symptom in diagnosing disease, which is why you should never assume that it is from “natural” causes. In most cases, water retention can be classified as abnormal and treated successfully.

5. Hormonal Fluctuation

More common in women than in men, hormonal imbalance is a common source of water retention, especially for women experiencing pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and menopause. This is especially true for women receiving hormonal replacement therapy. Hormones affect how kidneys function, how much fluid the body retains, and how the body manipulates protein, electrolytes, and important enzymes. In pregnant women, for example, it tells the body to retain more fluids for the sake of the fetus.

Read Next: The Role of Water in Dieting

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