Help! I’m retaining water

Posted on 6 May 2016

At some point in every woman’s life, water retention is a real concern, causing puffiness and bloating. But what happens when water retention isn’t just a sign of that time of the month? Dr Lawrence Archer, a GP supporting Mediclinic Newcastle, advises…

What does retaining water mean?
Oedema, commonly termed ‘water retention’, happens when fluid collects in the body – usually in the lower extremities like the hands, feet, ankles and legs, but can also be seen in the face and back. This can be a side effect of certain medication, or can indicate an underlying medical condition like cardiac, kidney, liver disease, an endocrine or metabolic problem, or local causes like varicose veins.

What can I do to manage my tendency to retain water?
Don’t stop drinking water unless you have been fluid restricted by a medical specialist – your body still needs up to two litres of water a day to function optimally. In some cases – like when it’s that time of the month – you may just have to wait it out. Otherwise, as a first-line intervention, try to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time and exercise as often as you can, at a level you’re comfortable with. If you can, try to elevate your feet above the level of your heart by resting them on a stack of cushions, or by lying on the floor and resting your feet high up on a wall for a few minutes every day. For those with lymph oedema, massage helps shift the fluid, and you could also try watching what you eat: eat a healthy balanced diet, limit your salt intake and include foods that are natural diuretics like asparagus and green tea.

What if the puffiness won’t go away?

Get to a doctor, who will check for any underlying medical conditions and prescribe treatment that suits you.

Published in Healthy Life

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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