The so-called edema can cause some serious complications such as pain or difficulty in walking due to accumulated water in the legs. Such water retention occurs in the circulatory system or in tissues and cavities. In addition, this can lead to swelling of the hands, feet, ankles and legs. However, there are simple ways to reduce edema yourself with lifestyle changes and home remedies if it is not caused by a serious health condition. Here is some useful information and tips that can help you relieve the symptoms of fluid retention with simple steps.
Table of Contents
- Why water accumulates in the legs
- Tips for treating it with your own remedies
- Reduce salt intake and prevent water in the legs
- Limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates
- Increase magnesium intake
- Take more vitamin B6 from food
- Increase potassium consumption
- Natural diuretics for water in the legs
- Lifestyle changes for water in the legs
- Water intake and weight management
- Massage or yoga as measures against water in the legs
- Medical treatment for edema and water in the legs
Why water accumulates in the legs
The circulatory system, kidneys, lymphatic system, hormonal factors and other body systems all contribute to maintaining healthy fluid levels. However, fluid buildup can occur in these systems. Edema can affect any area of the body, and it happens for a variety of reasons. Many things can cause water retention, including some mild and serious health conditions.
Most people experience such discomfort from time to time. Some of the causes include obesity, dietary changes or malnutrition, high blood pressure, liver or kidney dysfunction, hormonal changes including pregnancy and menstruation, medications such as steroids and contraceptives, and allergies. Occasional swelling is usually not a cause for concern, but severe or chronic water retention may indicate a more serious health problem.
However, some serious health problems also cause edema. Depending on the cause, you can prevent it by changing your diet or avoiding sitting for long periods of time throughout the day. If it’s caused by other health conditions, doctors may be able to help treat the condition.
If you feel bloated and heavy no matter how many changes you make to your diet or how much you exercise, it could be due to water retention – which, annoyingly, often gets worse in the summer. This can leave you feeling tired, irritable and unwell. Fortunately, there are proven methods to relieve tissue dropsy and accumulated water in the legs. These range from diet and lifestyle changes to supplements and massage.
Possible symptoms of edema
Symptoms of fluid accumulation depend on the area affected. Common areas are usually the lower legs, hands, abdomen and chest. In the limbs, feet, and hands, symptoms include swelling , changes in skin color, shiny or swollen skin, areas of skin that remain indented when pressed in with a finger, known as pitting edema, pain and tenderness in the limbs, stiffness in the joints, or weight gain.
However, this condition can also affect other areas of the body, such as the brain and lungs. Also known as hydrocephalus, fluid buildup in the brain can cause symptoms such as vomiting, blurred vision , headaches and balance problems. This can be life-threatening. Excess fluid in the lungs or pulmonary edema may indicate a serious problem with the heart or airways. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain and weakness, as this can affect the lungs’ ability to supply oxygen to the body.
Tips for treating with your own remedies
Having water retention is not all doom and gloom. You simply need to take proactive steps to change your diet and lifestyle to reduce it and feel healthy. One of the most direct ways you can begin to reduce water retention is through your diet.
Reduce salt intake and prevent water in your legs
The sodium in salt binds water in the body and is an important element in how it balances fluid levels inside and outside the cells. Consuming too much salt can disrupt the fluid balance in your body and promote water retention. So one easy way to combat edema is to simply start reducing your salt intake. Choose healthier alternatives to processed foods and when you can use salt substitutes to season your dishes.
Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates.
Eating refined carbohydrates in products such as white flour, white bread, pasta or pastries leads to rapid rises in blood sugar and insulin levels. High insulin levels can cause your body to retain more sodium by causing your kidneys to reabsorb more sodium. This then leads to water retention as more fluid is retained by the sodium. You should therefore eat refined carbohydrates in moderation and avoid swallowing too much of them quickly during meals. Eat more slowly and consider switching to complex carbohydrates such as brown rice and whole grains.
Increase your intake of magnesium
Magnesium has been found to help reduce water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms. Therefore, it may be helpful to include more magnesium in your diet to help combat edema and water in the legs. Common sources of dietary magnesium include nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate and leafy green vegetables. If that’s not enough, you can also take magnesium supplements to really kick-start your diet against water retention.
Consume more vitamin B6 from foods
As with magnesium, vitamin B6 has also been found to help reduce water retention in women with premenstrual symptoms. Therefore, you should also consider including more of it in your diet. Fortunately, vitamin B6 is found in several readily available foods such as fish, offal, potatoes and starchy vegetables. Try adding more of it to your next meal and start combating water retention with it.
Increase potassium consumption
Potassium is another important mineral that is essential for the body’s metabolic processes. In addition, it helps prevent edema by lowering sodium levels in your body and boosting urine production. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, spinach and watermelon. Feel free to explore more potassium-rich foods and see what you want to include more often in your daily diet.
Natural diuretics for water in the legs
Laxatives help relieve the symptoms of fluid retention by encouraging you to pee more frequently. By doing so, you reduce the total amount of fluid in your body. While many of the substances you consume daily, such as coffee, are already diuretics, you may also consider taking natural laxatives such as dandelion, hawthorn, and green and black tea.
Lifestyle changes for water in the legs.
You can also reduce water retention by making other lifestyle changes. For example, a sedentary lifestyle can also lead to water retention. If you stand or sit for many hours each day, fluid can build up in your legs due to poor circulation and gravity. That’s why your legs and ankles can sometimes swell after standing or sitting all day. Take the time to get up and move around, or incorporate some form of daily exercise to keep your circulation going and water retention at bay.
Compression stockings are tight-fitting and designed to wrap tightly around your legs. In addition, they help compress your tissues and prevent fluid from building up. If you can’t avoid being sedentary because of your job, they are a great investment to prevent or reduce water retention.
People also often experience water retention as a result of gravity acting on bodies while sitting. So another easy way to reduce water retention is to simply put your feet up. By doing this, you encourage the fluid to flow away from your legs and back into your body. Try it several times a day or when your feet feel swollen.
Water intake and weight management
Simply drink more water throughout the day. Although it may sound counterintuitive, drinking water actually helps reduce water retention. When your body is dehydrated, it tends to retain as much fluid as possible. This can lead to tissue dropsy and cause the classic swelling. Drinking about 12 glasses of water a day and staying hydrated can therefore help reduce water retention.
Obesity or being overweight can also lead to poor circulation in the body and contribute to water retention in lower extremities. The swelling can put additional stress on your feet and cause pain when walking. This can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, which in turn further aggravates swelling. If you feel your weight is contributing, consider a weight management plan. Consult a doctor to find a healthy way to do this .
Massage or yoga as measures to combat water in the legs.
As great as they are for mental health, massages can also be an effective way to relieve discomfort from edema. Massage your feet or affected areas with firm movements and pressure in the direction of your heart to push fluid away and reduce swelling. It may also be time to get a massage once in a while, or if you can, get someone to do it for you.
A preliminary study suggests that yoga may help women with premenstrual syndrome reduce water retention quickly. Therefore, there is no harm in trying the appropriate yoga exercises. You could end up having a lot of fun making yoga a part of your daily life. This would help you stay active and improve your circulation anyway.
Medical treatment for edema and water in the legs
If you feel that diet and lifestyle changes are not working as well for you, you can of course ask your doctor about prescription diuretics. These are medications that aim to increase the amount of water and salt your body excretes through urine. There are three types of diuretics: Thiazide, loop, and spardiuretics. You need to consult a doctor to determine if prescription medicines are right for you and which type of diuretics you should take.
In addition, there are also some medications that cause water retention as a side effect. These may include medications for high blood pressure, pain medications such as ibuprofen, antidepressants, and chemotherapy medications. If water retention is significantly affecting your daily life, it may be time to talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or possible alternatives. Finally, remember that it’s perfectly fine to struggle with edema and to make those dietary and lifestyle changes. It can often take a while before you see significant effects or figure out which methods are best for you and your particular situation.