Fluid retention is a problem that affects a large part of the population. The human body has three compartments to hold water. The intracellular located on the inside of the cells. The intravascular is located inside the blood vessels.
And the interstitial, which lies between the two, particularly in the tissues surrounding the cells. The problem occurs when there is an imbalance in the membranes that let the liquid from one compartment to another.
This imbalance occurs largely by lifestyle (sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, poor diet, alcohol, excess salt, some types of drugs) is also caused by hormonal problems (pregnancy, menopause, contraceptive use) or in some cases by disease (cirrhosis, hypertension, cancer, etc.)
Fluid retention: When to worry?
The sudden appearance of an edema should worry anyone, since it may be a phlebitis. Phlebitis is a blood clot that blocks blood circulation (deep vein thrombosis). It usually appears, especially in the lower extremities (calves) but can also affect other veins of the body. If this clot moves through the bloodstream, it could reach the heart and plug the pulmonary artery, causing a pulmonary embolism. The symptoms that should alert you are the sudden appearance or evolution of the edema, its dissymmetry and the pains that may accompany it.
Fluid retention is also common in pregnancy. In most cases it is physiological and multi-factorial. It is necessary to worry when the edemas appear or grow in an exaggerated form in a few hours, since it could be the symptom of a hypertensive disease of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia. In that case, it is necessary to go to the doctor urgently, since the health of the mother and the baby would be at risk.
If you suffer fluid retention, go to your GP, since he will be able to assign you to a phlebologist to identify the real origin of the edema and can prescribe an adapted treatment.
How to prevent fluid retention
You can prevent or reduce fluid retention, leading a healthier lifestyle by taking a few simple steps:
- Avoid a sedentary lifestyle; you have to exercise every day, always according to the age and circumstances of each person to avoid overstraining. Running, walking, biking, swimming, climbing stairs and perform aerobic exercise. All exercise helps the expulsion of fluids.
- Stay away from salt and alcohol, adequate food benefits to the body. Foods high in nutrients, vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods are very beneficial. Besides vegetable infusions diuretics are very effective (Olive leaves, parsley, horsetail, juniper, asparagus, etc..)
- Sleeping properly, the rest is necessary and so advantageous to avoid fluid retention for many other problems, so sleep at least eight hours a day is essential.
- Drink plenty of water; contrary to popular belief, water is not responsible for the retention and drinks plenty of water is very important to resolve the problem.
Remedies for fluid retention
- The first thing is to reduce the consumption of sodium, one of its main sources is the salt that we use for cooking, so it is necessary to reduce its consumption as much as possible.
- Avoid spending a lot of time standing, especially in closed and warm places, so that the blood can circulate correctly.
- If the patient is prone to retain liquids, it is usually recommended that, when sitting, do so with the legs up, to avoid a buildup of blood in the legs.
- Another option is the intake of diuretics to help in the elimination of water and sodium in the body through urine or feces.
One of the most recommended is the horsetail. This type of diuretic has, in addition, regenerative and astringent properties, so it represents an excellent natural remedy for fluid retention.
Changes in diet
In addition, there are other recommendations to improve nutrition that can also reduce fluid retention.
- As regards dairy products, such as milk, yoghurts or cheeses, which can be taken without any problems, as long as these do not contain salt, reducing the consumption of cured and semi-cured cheeses, since these have a high sodium content.
- The meat, both lean and fresh, can be continued as unrestricted limiting consumption of canned, smoked, sausage, pate and any preservatives or the meat that contains high salt quantities.
- Regarding fish, the stipulations are similar to those of meat: avoid those that are canned, smoked or salted, such as, for example, cod.
- Both fruits and vegetables such as cereals, which can be eaten freely, except those that have salt, such as salted nuts or cookies and snacks.
- With regard to beverages, there are certain mineral waters with a high sodium content, so it is advisable to verify that the type you choose contains less than 50 milligrams per liter.
Finally, it is recommended that products such as sauces (mustard, ketchup, pink sauce, soy sauce, mayonnaise, etc.) be eliminated from the diet, precooked foods or fast foods and any product that contains additives or flavor enhancers, since these usually have a high sodium content.