Fluid Retention

BloatedFluid retention is a condition that is experienced both by men and women. The cause of bloating may be the result of diet, or may result from a medical condition.

Fluid retention occurs when water accumulates in the body.

Most fluid retention is mild and temporary. Often fluid retention is related to eating salty food. Swelling can occur after eating high sodium meals, such as: Chinese food, chips, deli meats, smoked fish, frozen entrees, canned soups or salad dressings.

After consuming a salty meal or snack , the sodium causes the body to hold more water in an effort to bring the sodium and water ratio back into proper balance.

Fluid retention related to the menstrual cycle is caused by a surge of hormones causing the kidneys to retain water.

Serious fluid retention is called edema.

Edema is often seen as a swelling in the legs. If a indentation in the skin occurs and stays in the skin after pressure, such as by the finger, is applied and released. The indentation is called pitted. This most serious form of edema is called pitted edema.

Edema can be caused by several diseases including diseases of the heart, kidneys and liver. Severe allergic reactions can also cause edema. Varicose veins or a blood clot can also cause edema. Cirrhosis of the liver causes excessive fluid accumulations in the abdominal cavity.

The treatments and drugs used for diseases can also cause edema. Drugs that can cause edema include: hormones, steroids and treatment for hypertension.

What to do about fluid retention?

Although it is counterintuitive, drinking water alleviates bloating. Many people think that drinking water causes bloating, but the opposite is true. Experts recommend drinks at least six to eights glasses of fluid daily to keep your body functioning properly and keep fluid in correct balance.

1. Certain foods have a diuretic effect to help avoid the puffiness of fluid retention. Diuretic foods include:

  • cranberry juice
  • beverages with caffeine
  • asparagus
  • eggplant
  • anise
  • celery
  • dandelion greens
  • lemon
  • parsley
  • tea.

2. There have been studies that show that immersion in water can help to relieve fluid retention. Getting into a swimming pool and taking a water aerobics class or going swimming are activities that can relieve bloating.

3. For edema or swelling in the legs, the best remedy is to keep the legs elevated as much as possible so that the water doesn’t pool in the ankles and lower legs. Increase circulation to the lower legs by doing ankle exercises. Pointing and lifting the toes is a good stretch for the feet and increases circulation.


Fluid retention can be mild and temporary or it can be serious and chronic. Bloating can be very uncomfortable, as well as unsightly. In order to avoid this problem you should avoid salty foods and snacks, eating the high potassium food with a diuretic effect instead. Drinking lots of water has been proven to flush the sodium out of your system and to alleviate bloating.

Get your circulation going with exercise.

If you have access to a swimming pool, or lake, take advantage of the opportunity to immerse yourself in water while you exercise.

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