Water Retention Symptoms: Abdominal Bloating, Weight Gain and More


Water Retention Symptoms

Typically, water retention occurs due to a different medical condition. It may be caused by hormonal changes, liver problems, cardiovascular issues or pregnancy. To truly treat water retention, individuals have to figure out what the underlying condition is. There are supplements available to treat water retention symptoms. For the symptoms to disappear permanently, the actual medical condition must be remedied and cured.

What is Water Retention?

Known as fluid retention or edema, water retention refers to water or fluid collecting in the body’s tissues. Individuals may experience puffiness within their feet or legs. Normally, water retention occurs during pregnancy or with age. It happens more often among older individuals because they are more likely to have the underlying medical conditions that can cause it. Although it is a frequent problem of older adults, it can happen to any gender and at any age.

There are numerous factors that can cause water retention. Some of the simplest cases occur because someone is standing on their feet all day. The gravity pulls water down into the tissue within the feet, ankles and legs. Other cases of water retention may be caused by heart failure or liver disease. If the body cannot transmit and remove fluids effectively, they can build up over time. Any medical condition that alters the way excess fluids are removed can cause water retention.

What are the Symptoms of Water Retention?

When someone has water retention, the first symptom that they will notice is puffiness. The most common areas for this to occur is within the feet or legs. It may also affect the face or hands. As the tissue becomes filled with fluid, it stretches out the skin. From the outside, this skin will appear shinier than normal and stretched out. Since the body is retaining excess fluid, it can cause weight gain. This weight gain is temporary and will resolve once the water retention is treated.

As more pressure is placed on the tissue and joints, it can cause a dull sensation of pain. Joints near the affected areas may be swollen or stiff. Some individuals may also be able to test for water retention at home. They can press the affected area for ten seconds with their finger. If they have water retention, the area will retain a dimple after the finger is taken away. To officially be diagnosed, the individual must submit to tests from a doctor. Afterward, the doctor may decide the cause of the water retention or prescribe medication.

Many of these symptoms worsen toward the end of each day. After resting overnight, they may temporarily heal on their own. To make the problem better, individuals can remove rings or tight clothes. Looser clothes worn during the evening can help them to recover from water retention at night.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Stiff joints and diffuse aching throughout the affected area
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fluid accumulation in certain parts of the body
  • Sudden weight gain or rapid fluctuations in weight. These may occur within a single day as the water is released from the body
  • Irritability or symptoms normally associated with depression
  • Abdominal bloating or general discomfort in the abdomen
  • Puffy facial features or extremities

In smaller areas of the body, it may stem from an infection or an inflammation like an insect bite. If it is due to an allergic reaction, it may appear over a larger area of tissue. When this happens, it can make the skin feel tense and make movement severely limited.

Leg edema or water retention can make the legs feel heavier than normal. In severe cases, this can make walking or movement difficult. If it is caused by heart disease, the legs may end up weighing an extra five pounds each. Over time, the water retention can interfere with blood flow. This may cause ulcers to develop. When water retention affects the lungs, it can make it difficult for the individual to leave. Shortness of breath may lead to lower oxygen levels and can produce a cough.

Natural Weighs to Treat Mild Water Retention

To naturally remedy the problem, individuals can remove salt from their diet. Salt naturally increases water retention so eating salty foods like potato chips can make the problem worse. Vitamin B6 supplements are believed to help reduce water retention. Sources of this supplement can be found within red meat or brown rice. Vitamin B5, Vitamin D and calcium can also help speed up the release of fluid from the body. These supplements are commonly found in fresh fruits, some green vegetables and dairy.

Drinking water seems counter-intuitive, but it can help cases of fluid retention. Adequate water consumption is necessary for the circulatory to work effectively. Once the blood veins and cardiovascular system are able to adequately transport fluids, they can remove any excesses found within the body’s tissues. Likewise, reducing diuretics like tea, alcohol and coffee can help encourage a strong circulatory system.

Vigorous exercise can help water retention. Many cases of fluid retention are caused by medical conditions like heart disease, sluggish liver function and circulatory problems. Regular exercise can help to get the body back into working order. When water retention is especially bad, individuals can use cranberry juice for its mild diuretic action. Herbal teas or pills like horsetail, corn silk, evening primrose oil, chaste tree, calcium, magnesium and dandelion leaf can help. To deal with water retention directly, sufferers can wear support stockings or lie down with their legs above head level.

Dealing with Water Weight

The best way to deal with water weight is through diet, exercise and supplements. Certain supplements can help the body to process excess liquids. Water pills or herbal teas can also act as diuretics to flush the fluid from the body’s tissues. Like any treatment, individuals should discuss taking supplements with their doctor first. Since many cases of water retention are caused by underlying medical conditions, sufferers need to treat the medical condition as well as the symptoms of water retention.

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Published Date
August 02, 2013
Last Updated
March 27, 2014

About Emily Clark
Author

Emily Clark is a general health expert. She has worked as a researcher, PR person in Maywood, IL. She is contributing to ConsumerHealthDigest.com since 2011.

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