If you think you are too big for your clothes, your face is puffy and looks swollen when you get up in the morning, then you are suffering from water retention. The other symptoms are bloating of the stomach or tightness of the ring in the finger. Your shoes will pinch and all these events will cause you a lot of discomfort. This is called water retention or edema.
Usually, our bodies have the ability to balance the water levels in the body depending on the food that we eat or drink. But at times, this balance tends to go haywire. The leading causes of edema are excessive salt and alcohol intake, long periods of inactivity and monthly hormonal fluctuations or pregnancy in women. A sudden gain in weight or swollen ankles is the only signs of water retention.
The common home remedies for water retention are:
o Go into deep water: Exercising in the swimming pool will be an excellent remedy for curing this problem. This is due to the water pressure forcing out the excess water out of the tissues and into the bladder. It is advised to exercise gently in the pool at the temperature of 80 to 90 degrees F. If you are pregnant, avoid water above 100 degrees.
o Avoid diuretics: Although diuretics are effective for the flushing out of excess water in the people with the heart, kidney or liver disease, they can also cause rebound edema. Continuous usage will activate the salt and water retaining hormones and when stopped, these hormones are activated and cause water retention.
o Minimize salt intake: Avoid foods high in salt like hotdogs, burgers, pizzas etc. They contain very high salt content and the fluid released will remain in the body till kidneys have a chance to excrete them which is about 24 hours.
o Exercise continuously: Exercise has been shown to reduce the water retention by flushing out the water and salt through sweating, higher respiration and increased urine flow. If you have been sitting for a long time, walk up and down or climb stairs every hour. You can also try the following exercise: point the toes down, then raise them up as high as possible which pumps up the calf and foot muscles. You can also raise your hands up overhead.
o Increase fluid intake: Water moves through the kidneys and bladder thus diluting the urine. It becomes easier for the kidneys to flush diluted urine out along with the salt contained in it. Plain water is the best option, since juices, sodas and colas have salt content.
o Sip on the herbal tea: Many herbs are slightly diuretic. Parsley is the best known one. Take two teaspoons of dried leaves for each cup of boiling water and see for ten minutes. Drink three cups a day.
o Lie down with feet up: Recline with the feet up in the raised position. This will allow the fluid collected in the legs to go to the circulatory systems and from there to the kidneys for excretion.
If these tips do not work or if you have heart and kidney problems consult a doctor. You can also consult a doctor if you have a pitting edema where an indentation remains when you press the skin.