Water Retention Symptoms May be a sign of illness

Water retention which is also known as edema, takes place when a build-up of fluid remains in the body tissues. The entire body will swell or just certain parts of it depending on what the cause is. These are called generalized and localized edema. Edema usually gathers in the ankles and feet, legs, arms, and hands. Water retention symptoms may be a sign of illness and should be examined by a doctor.

Mild fluid retention can be attributed to any number of causes such as sunburn, the menstrual cycle, a sprained ankle, salty foods, or even a sedentary lifestyle. By reducing one’s salt intake the swelling should start subsiding fairly quickly. The average person loses about two pounds in water weight. Water pills can be taken to reduce swelling but often it suffices to simply drink more water since this is what the body requires.

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Adrenal Glad Malfunction

Sometimes water retention is a result of adrenal gland malfunction. The function of adrenaline is to restore and maintain blood glucose levels. When these glands produce too much adrenaline it decreases the activity in the bladder and bowel muscle. The adrenal glands are important because they regulate the quantity of salt and water in the body. It is important to relax the whole body whenever you feel your adrenaline rushing by doing some deep breathing exercises. Take 3-4 slow deep breaths in a row, and about 5 minutes later repeat this.

Physical Injuries

A sprained ankle may result in stretched or torn ligaments. The damaged area will swell almost immediately and requires elevation and an ice pack to bring down the swelling. The swelling is caused by blood vessels leaking fluid into the tissue. It is important to not leave the ice pack on for more than ten to fifteen minutes to avoid freezing the skin.


Stiff, swollen joints can also be an indication of arthritis. There are many different kinds of this condition so the treatment depends on the type. Symptoms include swelling and sensitivity in the painful area. This is a situation where the white blood cells migrate to the affected area in an attempt to repair what the immune system has interpreted as the invasion of a foreign body. Arthritis basically involves the wearing away of the cartilage in the joints. Friction between the unprotected bones will cause pain and swelling. Joint mobility and pain reduction can be maintained by having regular physical therapy treatments.

Kidney Malfunction

The kidneys are able to eliminate all waste materials that our body produces. However, if the kidneys are not working properly many problems can occur such as swelling of the body or weight gain from water retention. Kidney treatments include special diets or recommended supplements that provide necessary minerals for kidney health.

Certain medications can also cause water retention:

  • Hormones, like estrogen and testosterone
  • A group of blood pressure lowering drugs
  • Steroids
  • Antidepressants

Liver Disease

Patients diagnosed with liver disease can benefit from early detection. The function of the liver is to convert fat into energy. Removing alcohol from one’s diet will help the liver to continue in its function provided that the disease is in its early stages. The liver is able to repair itself under certain conditions. Preventing any further damage to the liver can sometimes reverse the negative effects. Examples of liver disease are liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, infections, and cancer.

When water retention is caused by a serious underlying condition such as kidney or liver problems, a doctor should be consulted as quickly as possible. When the ankles and legs are swollen, this is an indication that organs like the heart and kidney are not doing their job. The sooner a physician can establish the causes for the swelling the sooner they can prescribe preventative measures to relieve the symptoms. Water retention symptoms may be a sign of illness and if detected early enough, it can possibly be prevented from getting any worse.

Healthy Ways to Reduce Water Retention:

  • Cut down salt consumption
  • Exercise regularly
  • Raise the legs up several times a day to improve circulation
  • Wear supporting stockings if water retention occurs in your lower limbs
  • Not to sit/stand still for too long
  • Avoid extremes of temperature, such as hot baths, showers, and saunas
  • Massage the affected area to help move the fluid

Sometimes the best way to reduce water retention problems is to drink more water. If you are not drinking enough water the body stores this water because it is not sure when it will get more. By drinking plenty of water your system will know it does not need to store water. It will concentrate more on replenishing your body and flushing out the toxins in your body. Staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, and feeling positive are the key ingredients in living a healthy and happy life free of water retention!

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