What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Water retention is caused by fluid build up in body tissues, according to MedlinePlus 2. This condition is also called edema. The legs, ankles and feet are prone to water retention. However, this problem can occur anywhere in the body. For most people, water retention isn’t a serious medical concern. However, there is a small chance that water retention is caused by underlying medical issues.
Medicine and Water Retention
Medications can cause water retention. For example, drugs that focus on opening the blood vessels, called vasodilators, may cause this health issue. Calcium channel blockers, also called calcium antagonists, are another possible cause, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. Other medications with water retention side effects include estrogens and thiazolidinediones, which are used to treat diabetes.
Hormones also play a role in water retention. This is a common problem during a women’s menstrual cycle. Women are also more susceptible to water retention during pregnancy, causing swelling of the feet, hands and face. If you experience water retention during pregnancy, consult your doctor. This problem can be serious in pregnant women.
Serious Causes of Water Retention
Although less common, there are serious underlying causes of water retention. For example, kidney disease may cause this health issue. Your body isn’t able to eliminate enough fluids and sodium, causing the body to retain water. If you have kidney issues, water retention usually occurs around the eyes and legs.
An inadequate lymphatic system also causes water retention. This health concern is usually caused by infection or cancer. As a result, the lymph nodes and vessels aren’t draining correctly, resulting in water retention.
Treating Water Retention
The first step in treating water retention is consulting your doctor. She can rule out a serious medical issue and recommend the proper treatment. Decreasing salt intake can assist with reducing water retention. Massaging the affected area and applying gentle pressure can encourage excess fluid to move. Getting plenty of movement in the area of the body that’s affected is also helpful.
Your doctor might also prescribe a diuretic, such as thiazide diuretics or spironolactone, which causes your kidney to increase the amount of water put out. If water retention is a medication side-effect, your doctor might try a different drug for treatment.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images