There’s a number of different causes of fluid retention including pregnancy, the menopause, menstruation and heart disease, plus kidney and liver problems. Gender plays a role, with women more likely to suffer from fluid retention than men.
In addition, dietary factors can also contribute to fluid retention so it’s important to watch what you eat.
Should I be concerned?
Fluid retention doesn’t present any immediate health risks but it’s important not to ignore the warning signs because it could be an indication that there’s something else wrong, such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
Symptoms to watch out for include the appearance of weight gain. Your legs and hands may feel thick and bloated. Cramps anywhere in the body and the sensation of weakness may also be present.
These top ten tips will help to prevent the onset of this uncomfortable condition.
Food and drink
- Do not eat foods which have too much sugar in them – if possible, avoid them altogether.
- Reduce your salt consumption. Experiment with replacing salt with herbs, spices or condiments.
- Make sure you have a good intake of protein. Without protein, the amount of albumin production can be affected, which in turn can cause fluids to accumulate in the tissues and cells.
- Drink beverages that have a diuretic effect, such as tea and herbal infusions.
- Drink lots of water, at least 8 glasses every day. You can add natural citrus juices, such as orange and lemon to the water if you prefer a bit more flavour. You could also replace these with natural juices, provided no sugars have been added.
- Increase your uptake of water and electrolytes in foods; the easiest way to do this is by eating more fruit and vegetables.
Other top dietary tips include steering clear of refined flours, fizzy drinks and coffee; you’ll also feel the benefits.
Rest, exercise and movement
- Don’t sit down for long periods. Take some exercise or stretch at least once an hour, even if it just means going to get a drink.
- Get sufficient rest. Your body needs the right amount of rest which is good quality too, particularly to prevent fluid retention in the lower limbs.
- Fit in some activities daily. It doesn’t need to be physically gruelling; just a 30 minute stroll, a bike ride or even some dancing will all get that circulation moving.
- Don’t wear tight or constrictive clothing as this can make circulation more sluggish and cause fluid retention.