Why is my ring so tight today? How did I gain 3 pounds overnight? Why don’t my shoes fit?
Water retention is likely to blame.
Up to 60 percent of an adult’s body is water, and water accumulates when the body retains excess and unnecessary fluids.
Common causes of water retention
Many things can cause water retention, including mild and serious health conditions. However, most people experience water retention from time to time. Some reasons are:
Dietary changes or nutritional deficiencies
Liver or kidney dysfunction
Hormonal changes such as pregnancy and menstruation
Medicines such as steroids and birth control pills
Occasional bloating is usually not a cause for concern, but severe or chronic water retention may indicate an underlying problem.
Your doctor may assess your legs, arms, and feet for excess fluid. These areas may appear swollen or tender to the touch. Also, water retention may occur during bloating. Your doctor may want to discuss your medical history, including recent unexplained weight gain, changes in your diet, and medications you’re taking.
Sometimes the appearance of puffiness on the face or other parts of the body can be caused by too much sodium in your diet. But only your doctor can determine if your water is stagnant (heart, liver, or kidney problems) or if there’s something to worry about (like your rings or shoes being temporarily too tight). We can discuss ways to reduce the problem together.
Your doctor may use one of the following tests to evaluate the cause and severity of your water retention.
Liver function test
Kidney function test
X-ray of the chest
Cardiac function test
Tips to reduce water retention
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help reduce water retention. Here are some ideas to consider:
Try a low-sodium diet. Simple dietary changes can make a big difference. Start by researching the hidden culprits of high salt in your diet, such as canned vegetables and frozen meals.
Eat more fruit. Potassium-rich fruits, especially bananas, watermelon, and peaches, lower sodium levels and reduce water retention.
Drink more water. Drinking more water to stop water retention may sound like counterintuitive advice, but when you’re hydrated, it’s easier to remove excess salt and waste from your body.
To move. Regular exercise helps keep the circulatory system working properly, moving fluid to the lymph vessels, digestive and urinary tracts, and reducing build-up.
Consider dandelion root. For those interested in safe herbal remedies, talk to your doctor about using dandelion root to relieve water retention. This herb is traditionally used to help remove unwanted fluids from the body.
Wear compression garments. Compression socks, stockings, or sleeves can improve blood flow to your arms and legs. This prevents fluid retention and swelling, and prevents blood clots from forming.
Raise your legs. Resting your feet above your heart occasionally can help drain fluid from your ankles and feet. A gentle massage while elevating the leg can also help.
Consider medication. If lifestyle changes don’t meet the goals you’ve set with your doctor, medication can help. Over-the-counter diuretics are not recommended because diuretics can have adverse effects on the kidneys.
Fluids in our bodies are constantly changing, but when is it urgent? Fluid retention is a common complaint, but if swelling occurs and does not go away, you should seek immediate medical attention.
You should be concerned if a part of your body suddenly swells, especially during pregnancy, as it could be a sign of a blood clot. You should also call 911 if you experience chest swelling or shortness of breath.