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Water Retention: The Complete Guide

What is Water Retention?

Water retention happens when water is absorbed into your body’s tissues more than returned to your blood. As a result, organs become swollen and puffy. 

Short-term water retention is not a serious problem, but long-term water retention can have harmful effects on the human body.

What Causes Water Retention?

1 | Lack of physical activity

Sitting or standing for long periods keeps the tissues of your body hydrated.

In other words, a sedentary and inactive lifestyle can cause water retention in your body. As a result, physical symptoms such as swelling in your legs will form.

2 | Pregnancy

water retention can be caused by pregnancy

Uterine weight on the large pelvic veins can lead to increased fluid accumulation in women’s bodies during pregnancy.

In most cases, this disappears with the baby’s birth.

3 | Protein deficiency causes water retention

Protein deficiency may increase the risk of health problems

Your body needs a level of protein to balance water. In general, if you don’t eat enough protein-rich foods, your blood levels will drop.

Then water moves to thicker tissues and enters the bloodstream and does not return to your blood.

For this reason, bloating occurs mainly on the legs.

4 | Premenstrual Water Retention

Fluid retention cause bloating in pregnant women. In other words, hormonal imbalances in women’s bodies lead to premenstrual water-holding.

5 | High salt diets

salt can be one cause

Salt and sodium cause water retention. When you eat salty meals, salt goes into your body’s tissues.

Then the water goes to the tissues to dilute it. For this reason, any part of your body becomes bloated.

6 | Heart problems

heart Disease may cause your body retain water

water retaining caused by heart disease may present with Swelling of the abdomen and legs. Some common symptoms of heart failure such as

  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnoea)

In this case, be sure to see your cardiologist.

7 | Malnutrition

Experts say deficiency of thiamine or vitamin B1, and deficiencies of B6 and B5 vitamins, cause fluid retention in your body.

In the same way, low levels of albumin can lead to kidney disease and water retention.

8 | Allergies may cause water retention

9 | Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid )

Hypothyroidism may be a cause of water retention

Underactive thyroid reduces your metabolism. Thus the water and fluids in the lining of the body tissues increases. Consequently, the swelling happens.

When your metabolism reduces, your body fat mass increases. You can do a TSH test that is a simple blood test and show the level of your thyroid hormone.

10 | Kidney Disease

fluid retention can be caused by kidney problems

In this case, the balance of excretion and reabsorption of the salts of the body is out of balance. So the reabsorption of sodium causes your body to store water. This is important edema.

What are Water Retention Symptoms?

The symptoms of fluid retention can vary depending on the location and amount of water. But, here are the most common ones.

1 | Leg Swelling

Look at your feet. These are the first places where you can find excess body water. The heavy, tired and unusual legs are a sign and a warning for this.

2 | Ankle Swelling

This is another sign of water retention.

3 | Swollen Hands

You should look at your hands and wrists. If you have trouble getting rid of your bracelet or ring, because of the excess water in your body.

4 | Face Swelling

A bloated face can be another sign. If your face is thin but you have larger cheeks, a sign.

5 | Swollen Abdomen

The belly is another where swelling is most obvious.

How To Reduce Water Retention?

  1. Reduce salt from your diet
  2. Weight loss in case of obesity
  3. Hiking and cycling 
  4. Raise legs several times a day to improve blood circulation
  5. Walk regularly 
  6. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  7. Avoid wearing too tight clothing
  8. Eat protein daily
  9. Eating fruits and vegetables


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