Water Education - Water and Health

Bloating, Water retention & Histamine

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Having a problem with expelling water is caused by one of several mechanical failures of the body, sometimes induced by imbalanced hormones or chemicals. Very often, the problem is a symptom of old age. Whatever the cause, it is clinically known as water retention. Common effects are the swelling of hands and feet, and sometimes entirely bloated or inflated limbs.

Water Retention

Water retention is caused by two things: An excess of histamine in the body, or the improper functioning of an organ. The body naturally manufactures histamine and releases it in the presence of allergens. Allergens can be pollen or any foreign compound that the body develops a reaction to. The allergen in question can be very specific to the individual. Histamine causes water retention by causing capillaries to dilate and allowing them to leak fluid. This normally is beneficial, because it releases white blood cells and fluid to injured or infected tissue.

Improper excretion can be caused by malfunctioning kidneys or the heart. In the case of the heart, this is caused by a drop in blood pressure. Without pressure, fluids back up and leak, and also the kidneys are less able to filter blood. The kidneys fail in their duty if they become infected or inflamed. Swollen kidneys are too pressurized to filter blood properly, like a hose being restricted by doubling it over. Kidneys become sick as the result of bacteria and other contaminants being ingested from food and water sources.

Curing water retention requires a complete physical examination. This should be a patient's first step anyway, given the startling sight of an entirely swollen hand or foot. It is necessary to seek evaluation right away in order to determine the cause because swelling can be sign of a more serious condition. Allergens and chemicals are not always the culprits; there is always the chance of organ malfunction which must be eliminated first. In the event allergens are suspected, the food or drink that was consumed should be isolated.

7 Home Remedies for Water Retention

  • Avoid salt – Sodium increases fluid retention, try using pepper or other spices as a substitute. More importantly, cut down on fast food and processed foods because they are filled with salt!
  • Eat bananas – Bananas contain high amounts of potassium, which helps eliminate fluid retention. Slice them into your cereal, add them in a smoothie mix, or just eat them plain for a light and healthy snack.
  • Use ice packs – Applying an ice pack to swollen ankles can bring it back to normal size. Use a Ziplock bag and fill it with ice cubes and apply with a towel to the skin for 5-10 minutes. People with diabetes or poor circulation may want to check with their physician before doing so.
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