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Get Rid of Water Retention
Here are some useful treatment options to help you get rid of water retention.
by Brad Chase
Water retention, also known as edema, is a medical condition caused by abnormal retention of large amounts of fluid in the spaces between the body's cells or in the circulatory system.
There are many potential causes of edema: premenstrual syndrome, medication, disease or excessive sitting or standing.
There are different types of edema. Edemas can be classified according to their nature. For example, there are pitting and non-pitting edemas.
When pressure (such as pressing down a thumb) is put on pitting edema, an indentation is made in the skin which can take a few seconds or a few minutes to refill. Non-pitting edemas do not show this indentation when pressed down.
Edemas can also be classified according to the body part in which they are found.
Therefore, cerebral edema is fluid retention in the brain; peripheral edemas are found in the limbs; and pulmonary edemas affect the lungs and the spaces around them.
Lymphedema is the edema caused by malfunctioning lymphatic system and myxedema is rare form of edema caused by the deposition of water-loving compounds in the tissues.
Water retention can be life-threatening in some instances and should be properly evaluated by a doctor to rule out any underlying disease that requires immediate medical treatment.
You must drink eight to ten glasses of water per day. Although edema is referred to as fluid retention, drinking plenty of clear fluids, such as water, will flush out toxins and excess fluid accumulation.
According to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, excess fluid retention can cause kidney strain, therefore flushing the kidneys with water will avoid unnecessary damage due to constant kidney strain.
Another explanation for the importance of drinking water in edema treatment involves the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
The body activates the system when it senses dehydration.
Therefore, when a diuretic compound found in one’s foods, herbs and other medications prompts a sharp rise in urine production which is high enough to trick the body into thinking it is dehydrated. The feedback loop then activates the renin-angiotensin system.
The final stage of this system is the release of the corticosteroid hormone, aldosterone, from the adrenal gland.
Aldosterone is transported to the kidneys where it promotes fluid retention. This fluid retention can quickly cause edema especially if the feedback mechanism to deactivate the renin-angiotensin system is inefficient.
Increasing one’s water intake can help deactivate the renin-angiotensin system by satisfying the thirst center in the brain and signaling rehydration of the body.
Diuretics are medicines that aid the removal of sodium and water from the body. They work by removing chloride and sodium from the body in the urine; and the chloride and sodium in turn absorb extra water from the body.
Diuretics are the most important drugs used in conventional medicine to get rid of water retention.
They block sodium reabsorption, and by extension, increase the salt concentration of the urine enough to prevent the reabsorption of water into the body.
There are 3 main classes of diuretics used in getting rid of water retention. These are loop diuretics, thiazide diuretics and potassium-sparing diuretics.
Loop diuretics act on the sodium/potassium/chloride transporters on the ascending limb of the loop of Henle of the kidney nephrons.
They are very effective diuretics which are recommended over other diuretics for edema patients who also suffer from liver cirrhosis, renal impairment, heart failure and nephrotic syndrome.
A prime example of loop diuretics is Lasix or Furosemide.
However, loop diuretics inhibit the reabsorption of potassium along with sodium. Since potassium is an essential micronutrient in the body especially to the cardiovascular and nervous systems, there is a need to include potassium supplements with loop diuretics for treating edema.
Thiazide diuretics also inhibit potassium reabsorption in the kidneys. Thiazides are also effective diuretics.
They also block the sodium/potassium transporters but at the distal convoluted tubules of the nephrons rather than at the loop of Henle.
Thiazides are not recommended for pregnant women (because of possible teratogenicity), diabetics (because they interfere with glucose control) and people suffering from gout (because they cause the accumulation of uric acid).
Potassium-sparing diuretics are prescribed especially when the risk of developing hypokalemia (low potassium levels) is high. They do not inhibit the reabsorption of potassium but rather produce their diuretic effect by acting at other sites in the kidneys.
There are two types of potassium-sparing diuretics. There are drugs such as spironolactone which inhibit aldosterone released by the renin-angiotensin system; and there are others such as amiloride which simply inhibit sodium reabsorption by blocking sodium channels.
Consume plenty of vitamin B and iron enriched foods, such as whole grains and green leafy vegetables. According to Mayo Clinic, adding fresh fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants in diet will help your body get rid of excess fluid.
You may also take 1200 mg of calcium per day to reduce fluid retention and ease premenstrual syndrome symptoms. MayoClinic.com also recommends taking 200 to 400 mg of magnesium to alleviate edema symptoms.
Propping your legs with the help of a pillow to support your knees and ankles while lying down can help you get rid of water retention.
Lying flat can worsen fluid retention. According to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, propping your feet helps eliminate water retention and improve blood circulation that may be restricted by edema symptoms.
Elevating the limbs affected by edema above the heart level can help build up pressure enough to return some fluids back to the lymphatic system.
Besides, the effect of gravity can help get rid of some water retention by pulling back some fluids from the interstitial spaces where fluids pool.
Massage should also be considered to help get rid of water retention. When properly done, massages can manually redistribute fluids retained in the tissues back to the lymphatic system and also stimulate increased blood flow in the area affected by the edema.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends wearing compression stockings while standing for long periods of time. These support stockings apply gentle pressure to the legs, stimulating proper circulation and preventing swelling associated with edema.
Compression stockings are made of elastic materials which exert pressure on the legs. These stockings are rated differently depending on the amount of pressure they exert on the legs and their lengths.
Non-prescription compression stockings are meant for mild edema because they provide less than 20 mmHg of pressure.
For moderate to severe edema, higher pressure compression stockings are required to get rid of the water retention. These types of compression stockings need doctors’ prescriptions to obtain.
Compression stockings exert their greatest pressure at the ankles. From there, the pressure generated is gradually reduced up the length of the stockings.
Simple exercises coupled with compression stockings can result in even greater benefits for edema patients. By flexing the leg muscles, the pressure generated is enough to increase blood flow and clear the lymphatic system to help get rid of water retention.
Cold Compression is a combination of cryotherapy and static compression, generally used for the treatment of pain and inflammation. You can use cold compresses made of yarrow tea to alleviate the swelling caused from fluid retention.
You can apply cold compresses in the swollen area to ease inflammation and stretching of the skin that is associated with edema.
To get rid of water retention, you must follow a healthy diet plan. There are several foods that you must avoid, such as white flour foods, processed foods, sugary foods and drinks, coffee, black tea, and alcohol.
|Next Article: Painless Swelling in Ankles and Feet|
Capisette helps with reducing swelling and reducing edema by providing your body with the electrolytes needed to restore proper fluid tranfer in your cells. It then gets rid of excess fluid with natural diuretics.