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How to Get Rid of Water Retention

The human body is made up of at least 75% water.  Cells and tissues are configured and designed in such a way that they keep water levels balanced in your body.  Some people, though, may have problems keeping this balance and develop problems like swelling and bloating (Learn how to get rid of bloating).  If you suffer from water retention, here are some helpful tips to help you treat and prevent the illness.


Water retention is a condition where water and other fluids accumulate inside the cells, tissues, and other areas of the human body.  Water retention can cause discomfort like swelling, bloating, and problems with blood circulation and other bodily functions.  Severe cases of water retention may also lead to other serious problems like pulmonary edema, cardiac arrest, or kidney failure.

Here are some causes of water retention:

High sodium diet. Salt draws out water from cells and tissues.  While salt is needed to maintain the body's electrolyte balance, too much salt can draw out too much moisture from the body and cause the water to build up in other areas of the body.

Low fiber diet. Fiber is important to keep digestion thorough and complete.  Eating an excessive amount of low-fiber foods, especially fast food and junk food, can cause water retention problems.

Prescription medicine. Some medicines have contraindications and side-effects like water retention.  Make sure to read the label or inset very carefully to see if the medicine has any contraindications leading to water retention.

Exercise. If you do not have enough exercise, water and other fluids can build up in your cells.

Pregnancy. Pregnant women often suffer from water retention, especially on the lower body.  The weight of the baby, as well as the added weight gained during pregnancy, can add to discomfort from swelling and bloating.

Signs and Symptoms

Here are some signs and symptoms of water retention:

Swollen, bloated limbs or body parts

Pain and discomfort on swollen parts of the body

Stiff joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons

An imprint or indention is left on the swollen part of the body when the skin is pressed (edema)

Treatment and Prevention

Severe cases of water retention will need medical attention.  Treating water retention, though, requires the same remedies as preventing it from happening in the first place.  Here are some reminders you should follow to get rid of and prevent water retention.


Exercise is important to keep blood circulating and to prevent tissues from accumulating too much fluid.  Even simple exercises can help prevent the buildup of excess water inside cells.  If you're pregnant, you need to consult your doctor before engaging in an exercise regimen. (Tips on how to exercise when pregnant)

Diet Change

To counter water retention, you need to adjust your diet.  While cells and tissues should retain water, they should not accumulate them:

Increase fiber intake. Too much junk food or low-fiber diets can cause water retention problems consistent with obesity or malnutrition.  Adding a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables can help increase fiber and improve digestion.

Decrease sodium intake. Salty and savory foods may taste good, but overindulging in these foods can cause water retention.  Lowering your sodium intake not only helps minimize water retention, but it can also lead to overall good health.  Consult your doctor first before moving to low-sodium diets. (More tips on how to eat less salt)

Vitamin B. B vitamins are essential for good health, and can also help your cells regulate the amount of electrolytes and water levels in the body to prevent water retention problems.

Water Therapy

Dehydration and inadequate fluid intake can actually cause water retention.  Six to eight glasses of water every day should supply your body with enough fluid and get your circulation flowing.  Coffee, sodas, or alcoholic drinks should be consumed in moderation to prevent dehydration and water retention. (Tips on how to get rid of dehydration)

Consult Your Doctor

In extreme cases, water retention may cause serious ailments like heart disease, kidney failure, or life-threatening cases of edema.  For serious discomfort consistent with water retention problems, you should consult your doctor.  He or she may prescribe medications or a hospital stay for you to be completely relieved and cured of the condition.

Water retention can cause intense discomfort, and may pose a danger to your health in extreme cases.  With these tips, you can get rid of water retention and get back mobility and comfort in your life. If you enjoyed learning this article, you'll also enjoy learning how to get rid of swelling.


How to Get Rid of Water Retention Fast

Water retention usually occurs during premenstrual syndrome, medication, disease or excessive sitting or standing. Also called edema, water retention is defined by the University of Maryland Medical Center as the accumulation of abnormally large amounts of bodily fluid. Water retention can be life-threatening in some instances and should be evaluated by a medical professional once you notice symptoms, to rule out underlying medical conditions that require medical treatment.

Step 1

Drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day. Although edema is fluid retention, drinking plenty of clear fluids, such as water, will flush out toxins and excess fluid build up. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, excess water retention can cause kidney strain, therefore flushing the kidneys with water will relieve unnecessary damage due to continuous kidney strain.

Step 2

Take over-the-counter or prescription diuretics to alleviate fluid retention. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, loop diuretics work by eliminating fluid without removing necessary vitamins and minerals from the body, such as potassium.

Step 3

Eat plenty of vitamin B and iron enriched foods, such as green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Also adding fresh fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants is will help your body to rid itself of excess fluid, according to MayoClinic.com.

Step 4

Prop your legs up using a pillow to support your knees and ankles when lying down. Avoid lying flat as this can worsen fluid retention. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, propping your feet not only helps eliminate water retention but also helps increase circulation that may be inhibited through edema symptoms.

Step 5

Wear support stockings while standing for long periods of time, recommends the University of Maryland Medical Center. Support stockings apply gentle pressure to the legs, allowing for proper circulation and preventing swelling associated with edema.

Step 6

Apply cold compresses made of yarrow tea to your legs to help draw out and relieve swelling from fluid. Cold compresses help relieve inflammation and stretching of the skin that is associated with edema.

Step 7

Take 1200 mg of calcium per day to help eliminate fluid retention as well as alleviate premenstrual syndrome symptoms, recommends MayoClinic.com. Also recommended is 200 to 400 mg of magnesium however this supplement should be avoided if you suffer from heart problems.

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