About Water Retention
Water retention, also known as edema, is an uncomfortable condition that stems from the presence of too much water entering and remaining in the soft tissues of the body. While water retention can occur due to a variety of common reasons that may have little to no long term damage on the systemics of the body, there are some situations that can require immediate medical attention. Therefore, understanding the cycle of circumstances that can cause water retention is important in maintaining overall health and wellness.
The presence of water retention in the body can cause stomach swelling or bloating, along with considerable changes in weight. When swelling is associated with the abdomen area, breathing trouble can also occur due to excess pressure on the diaphragm. In extreme cases involving the limbs, the skin that surrounds the swollen area can stretch and take on a shiny appearance, tearing and ulcerating due to the intense pressure. In pulmonary edema, the area encompassing the heart fills with water resulting in serious cardiac risks.
Any number of medical conditions can lead to water retention, most notably heart disease, kidney disease, and thyroid problems. All of these require the use of medications to control and eliminate the threat of dangerous drowning of the soft tissue. Menstrual periods and pregnancy are also associated with water retention, which can be controlled through improved dietary changes and exercise. An important factor in the prevention of excess water retention is the monitoring of salt intake. Switching to a low-salt diet, or eliminating salt all together can have positive results in reducing body weight caused by the retention of fluids as well as, swelling of the limbs and abdomen.
The swelling and discomfort that are caused by fluid retention can send some to their medicine cabinets in search of diuretics to reduce the excess water. Unfortunately, this method of treating water retention falls short of curing the problem. As a matter of fact, the use of diuretics can make a bad situation even worse. The loss of sodium that is encouraged with diuretics also carries with it a loss of water and precious minerals that are important to the body. This scenario can lead to additional nutritionally based problems and dehydration. Therefore a change in eating habits and exercise are favored in place of the use of diuretics, except in extreme circumstances which involve cardiac concerns.
Among the misconceptions concerning water retention is the belief that adding more water to one’s diet will cause further bloating. This is absolutely untrue. In fact, one of the best ways to reduce excess water in the soft tissue areas of the body is to drink even more water than normal. The body will begin to store water when the metabolism feels threatened or in danger of dehydration, and if you are not drinking enough you will begin to retain it. Drinking at least two liters of water a day will help the body reduce the amount that it stores, and even help you to drop a few pounds.
Although there has been a strong focus on dietary changes that may reduce the risk of water retention, combined with exercise and the administering of medication in severe cases, further research has theorized that homeopathic remedies may also reduce risks. Bananas have been shown to combat the body’s storage of water by introducing potassium into the system, which blocks excess water from entering the soft tissue of the body. The intake of cranberry juice and cabbage are also said to have the same effect. Eating a daily serving of yogurt releases active cultures that protect the gastrointestinal system, and also helps the body to resist the need to store water and reduce bloating.