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Learn how to reduce water retention with over-the-counter and prescription medications, natural supplements, and herbs. Also, detailed info on compression stockings and wraps.

Edema is the medical term used for the abnormal accumulation of fluid in interstitial spaces of tissues. There are several edema products that you may use to get rid of fluid retention and reduce the pain and swelling associated with this condition. 

Identifying the actual cause of water retention is the first step of treatment for edema. Once the underlying cause is identified, your health care provider may prescribe diuretics and recommend some other edema products. 

1. Prescription Products for Edema

Diuretics, also known as water pills, are used to treat edema. While there are a few over-the-counter brands of water pills, there are some stronger pills that are only available through prescription.

There are three classes of diuretics for edema: loop diuretics, potassium-sparing diuretics, and thiazide diuretics. 

Some of the most-used diuretics for reducing edema symptoms include Aldactone (Spironolactone), Lasix (Furosemide), Chlorothiazide, Thalitone (Chlorthalidone), Triamterene, Spironolactone, Osmitrol, Midamor, Metolazone, Methyclothiazide, Indapamide, Hydrochlorothiazide Triamterene, and Zaroxolyn. 

Though most of these diuretics are FDA approved, you must consult with a healthcare provider to determine the right medication and dosage for you. 

If you have corneal edema, you may use Bausch & Lomb products for temporary daytime and nighttime relief. Muro 128 Solution offers effective daytime temporary relief, and Muro 128 Ointment offers effective nighttime temporary relief.

Each of the three classes of diuretics has its advantages and disadvantages.

Loop Diuretics

Loop diuretics used in either oral form or through an I.V. in a hospital setting. The medication increases urine flow and removes water from the body, something loop diuretics do better than any other diuretic. Loop diuretics are also more powerful than thiazide diuretics making them more effective for treating patients with impaired kidney function.

What do Loop Diuretics do?

Specifically, loop diuretics are diuretics that act at the ascending Loop of Henle in the kidney, resulting in increased urine production. Their effect on the Loop of Henle (a tiny, loop-like filtering tube in the kidney nephrons) gives the medication its name.

Loop diuretics prevent the reabsorption of sodium ions which increases the electrolyte concentration of the fluid that passes through the nephron. When water is more concentrated, it cannot be put back into the bloodstream from the nephron. Inhibiting sodium reabsorption then causes water to be lost as urine. This increases urine volume and urination frequency.

Uses for Loop Diuretics

Like other diuretics, loop diuretics cause the body to release water and reduce water retention. Loop diuretics are potent and useful for treating edema (swelling) in hospital patients suffering from several conditions including congestive heart failure, liver disease, and kidney disease.

One of the main effects of loop diuretics is reducing blood volume which decreases blood pressure. As a result, these drugs are sometimes used for treating hypertension (high blood pressure). Specifically, loop diuretics are frequently used to reduce blood pressure in patients with congestive heart failure.

List of loop diuretics:
Furosemide (Lasix) - The first loop diuretic to be approved in the United States (1966), Furosemide and is still widely used to treat fluid build-up associated with heart failure, liver scarring, or kidney disease. Also used to treat high blood pressure.
Ethacrynic acid (Edecrin) - The second loop diuretic approved for use in the United States (1967). It is still is available but is rarely used. Uses include treating high blood pressure and edema from congestive heart failure, liver failure, and kidney failure.
Bumetanide (Bumex) - Used for treating edema. It is most often used to treat heart failure and is frequently used in people for whom furosemide or other diuretics don’t work.
Torsemide (Demadex) - Used to treat both edema and high blood pressure. 

Risks and Side Effects of Loop Diuretics

Some of the common side effects of loop diuretics are:

  • Hyponatremia - low sodium levels
  • Hypokalemia - low potassium levels
  • Hypomagnesemia - magnesium deficiency
  • Hyperuricemia - abnormally high levels of uric acid in the blood
  • Gout - a type of inflammatory arthritis
  • Orthostatic hypotension (postural hypotension) - falling blood pressure when a person suddenly stands up from a lying or sitting position
  • Syncope - fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration

Some of the more infrequent side effects of loop diuretics include:

  • Dyslipidemia - an abnormal amount of lipids (fats) in the blood
  • Increased serum creatinine concentration
  • Hypocalcemia - low calcium in the blood
  • Metabolic alkalosis - tissue pH elevated beyond the normal range
  • Ototoxicity - ear damage which might be limited to tinnitus and vertigo, but could also result in deafness
  • Kidney failure (only in patients concurrently taking an NSAID and an ACE inhibitor)
  • Rash

Also, some loop diuretics (furosemide, torsemide, and bumetanide) are sulfonamides (sulfa drugs). Some individuals who are sensitive to sulfa drugs may also be sensitive to these loop diuretics.

Thiazide Diuretics

Developed by Merck in the 1950s, thiazides were the first drug of their class to be approved. They are the most commonly used oral diuretics and are often used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Because they are weaker than some other diuretics (like loop diuretics), they are often preferred for lowering blood pressure.

Thiazides are also used to treat edema related to heart failure, liver failure, or kidney failure. These medications also help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and death due to hypertension. Both thiazides and thiazide-like diuretics are all available generically. In many places around the world, they are the cheapest drugs available for combating hypertension.

What do Thiazides do?

Thiazides act directly on the kidneys and increase urine flow:

by inhibiting the sodium/chloride cotransporter located in the distal convoluted tubule of the nephron (the functional unit of a kidney). Thiazides decrease sodium reabsorption which increases fluid loss in urine, which in turn decreases extracellular fluid and plasma volume.

One effect of thiazide is reduced cardiac output, meaning the heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump blood around the body. This lowers the blood pressure. Thiazides also cause the body to lose potassium while retaining calcium which helps lower blood pressure.

A few thiazide diuretics include:
Chlorothiazide (Diuril) - Used to treat edema caused by renal dysfunction and to manage high blood pressure. Also used as an adjunct to treatment for edema associated with congestive heart failure or hepatic (liver) cirrhosis.
Chlorthalidone - Used to treat high blood pressure and different types of edema.
Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide) - Used for treating high blood pressure and various types of edema.
Indapamide - Used alone or with other antihypertensive drugs to treat high blood pressure. It is also used to treat salt and fluid retention associated with congestive heart failure.
Metolazone - Used to treat high blood pressure, edema resulting from congestive heart failure, and edema caused by renal diseases.

Risks and Side Effects of Thiazides

The United States National Library of Medicine lists the following common side effects of thiazides and thiazide-like diuretics:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Polyuria - Excessive urination
  • Hyponatremia - low sodium in the blood
  • Hypokalemia - low potassium in the blood
  • Hypomagnesia - (magnesium deficiency)

Individuals with prolonged thiazide usage may also experience the following:

  • Hyperuricemia - abnormally high uric acid in the blood
  • Gout - a type of inflammatory arthritis
  • Possible increased risk of cholecystitis (gallbladder inflammation)
  • In rare instances, thiazides have been linked to liver injury

Potassium-sparing Diuretics

Like other diuretics, potassium-sparing diuretics increase urination. However, unlike loop diuretics and thiazide diuretics, these diuretics reduce the amount of water and sodium in the body without lowering potassium levels. Potassium-sparing diuretics are less powerful than other diuretics. They can be used alone, but are frequently used alongside loop or thiazide diuretics.

How are Potassium-sparing Diuretics Used?

Like other diuretics, these medications can be used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). They are also used to address low potassium levels. Also, they are frequently used to treat liver disease and abdominal fluid build-up caused by liver damage.

A few potassium-sparing diuretics and their specific uses:
Amiloride (Midamor) - Used to treat high blood pressure or swelling caused by heart failure or liver cirrhosis.
Eplerenone (Inspra) - Used to treat high blood pressure from chronic heart failure. Taken by mouth.
Spironolactone (Aldactone) - Mostly used to treat fluid build-up associated with heart failure, liver scarring, or kidney disease. It can also be used for treating high blood pressure and low blood potassium.
Triamterene (Dyrenium) - Can be used alone or with thiazide diuretics to treat hypertension and edema. Often removes vitamin B9 from the body.

Side Effects

Some of the more common side effects of potassium-sparing diuretics are listed below:

  • Hyperkalemia - too much potassium in the body (if used with other medications that help the body retain potassium).
  • Hyponatremia - low sodium levels
  • Hypochloremia - low chlorine levels
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Frequent urination
  • Abnormal glucose levels

2. Natural Supplements 

Taking certain vitamin supplements might help relieve your edema. Calcium is also known to help with the fluid exchange in your body and can promote the excretion of fluid from body tissues. 

It has been found that a deficiency of vitamin B, potassium, and magnesium might also cause edema. Hence, supplementing your body with these vitamins and minerals might help reduce edema.  

The Benefits of Calcium

Calcium builds healthy teeth and bones- you’ve known this since you were five, but it turns out, calcium is used for far more in the body than just building strong bones (not that healthy bones aren’t an important health benefit).

Bodily Health

According to the University of Rochester, calcium is necessary for the body’s fluids and tissues for effective muscle contraction. Calcium is also necessary for blood vessel expansion and contractor, the transmission of messages in the nervous system, the secretion of hormones, and the production of enzymes. Without calcium, all of these systems are greatly impaired.

Are There Dangers with Calcium Supplements?

Any time you consume a supplement form of a vitamin rather than the vitamin in nature, there can be dangers. As the National Cancer Institute pointed out, too high concentrations of calcium in the body can contribute to a slight increase in risk for developing prostate cancer. According to the NIC, as long as you do not consume more than 2.5 grams of calcium per day in supplement or natural form, it is unlikely that you will have side effects.

Consuming more than 3 to 5 grams of calcium daily has been linked with kidney problems, such as kidney stones and eventual kidney failure. Too much calcium in the blood can also result from taking too much calcium daily. However, normal calcium consumption combined with normal calcium supplementation is unlikely to cause any side effects. It is even harder to overdose on calcium if you avoid dairy products and meat products.

How to Take Calcium Supplements
  • Researchers believe that the body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time.
  • This means that taking a once-daily dose of calcium around 1000 mg is a waste.
  • Instead, take two or three doses daily with meals to promote maximum absorption.

Reducing Edema with Potassium

Both sodium and potassium are necessary to prevent edema. These two nutrients work together to reduce swelling, even though sodium is commonly associated with an increase in swelling. However, with enough potassium in the diet, the problems with high salt consumption are reduced.

Ideally, you should eat five times more potassium than sodium. If you can't manage quite that much potassium, try a 3 to 1 ratio with three times more potassium than sodium. This will not only force you to eat potassium mindfully, but it will also help you reduce excessive salt intake.

Use these tips to reduce edema symptoms:

  • Do not eat processed food.
  • Eat a diet filled with unprocessed, whole foods (with a lot of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains).
  • Use a natural salt instead of iodized table salt. If you eat a healthy diet you won't have to worry about iodine deficiencies.

How to Add More Potassium to Your Diet

Since you are likely deficient in potassium, make efforts to consume more potassium-rich foods several times a week. Additionally, if you are suffering from uncomfortable swelling in the legs or elsewhere in the body, a potassium supplement can help you regulate and balance your electrolytes and reduce swelling.

After the swelling leaves, you can stop taking the supplement, if desired. Find potassium in the following foods:

Potassium-Rich Foods


  • Beets
  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Potato skin
  • Black beans
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Salmon
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Bok choy
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Oranges
  • Yogurt
  • Asparagus
  • Fennel
  • Squash
  • Cabbage


How Much Potassium Do You Need?

The recommended daily intake of potassium from the USDA is 4,700 mg per day. However, the average amount of potassium that a person gets in a day is only 2,600 mg, which is only about half of what should be consumed.

How Important is Magnesium?

Magnesium is important in the body because of its affinity for phosphates in biological systems. For this reason, it is needed for any biochemical reaction involving ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), the chief energy molecule in the cell.

Magnesium is also required for synthesizing DNA and RNA. In humans, the mineral can be found mostly in the skeleton and inside the cells.

Magnesium levels in cells are strongly linked to the cellular levels of potassium. Also, magnesium promotes the absorption of calcium.

The level of magnesium in the body requires a delicate balance. Therefore, different classes of cells maintain different magnesium concentrations. Magnesium is also regulated by being transported across cellular membranes and being bound by certain proteins.

Magnesium is needed for nerve conduction and to provide muscular strength. Because it can close some calcium channels on the membranes of neurons, high levels of magnesium can reduce the activity of nerves in the nervous system.

What Are The Sources Of Magnesium? 

Green vegetables, such as spinach, are excellent sources of magnesium, as the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium. 

Some legumes (beans and peas), whole unrefined grains, nuts, and seeds, are also good sources of magnesium. 

Bread made from whole grain wheat flour contains more magnesium than bread made from white refined flour. 

Tap water can also be a good source of magnesium, but the amount varies according to the water supply. 

If you have edema, follow a diet that includes a variety of nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. 

Swiss chard and boiled spinach, among other green vegetables, are excellent sources of the mineral. 

Fishes (such as halibut and cod) are good sources of magnesium. Some ready-to-eat breakfast cereals also contain magnesium. 

While magnesium oxide is the most common magnesium supplement, the bioavailability of magnesium from this source is low even though among magnesium salts, it has the highest magnesium content per weight.

Magnesium citrate provides the highest bioavailability of the mineral among its supplements.

Since the kidneys effectively remove magnesium from the body, hypermagnesemia is impossible from dietary sources. However, magnesium supplements can cause this accumulation of high levels of magnesium especially in patients with impaired renal functions.

Case Studies 

A study published in the Journal of Women's Health in 1998 reported 200 milligrams of magnesium oxide administered daily for two menstrual cycles notably reduced premenstrual water retention in the second month of taking supplementation. 

Recommended Dosage 

The Mayo Clinic recommends taking no more than 350 mg of magnesium supplements per day to get relief from water retention. Women suffering from kidney or heart disease should avoid taking magnesium supplementation. 

Are There Any Side Effects?

Dietary magnesium does not pose any health risk, but taking magnesium supplements might cause some side effects such as abdominal cramping and diarrhea. 

The risk of magnesium toxicity increases with kidney failure when the kidney fails to remove excess magnesium. 

High doses of magnesium-containing antacids and laxatives have also been related to magnesium toxicity. 

You should consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking magnesium supplements to determine the right dosage for you. 

For more information on Edema treatment, read these articles: Potassium & Fluid Retention, and Reduce Edema by Avoiding These Foods.

3. Herbs 

Many people prefer using herbs that have diuretic properties to treat edema. Several herbs are known to be effective in reducing edema.  

Dandelion root is a natural and effective diuretic that may be helpful with edema. It is one of the few diuretics that does not create a potassium shortage.

The diuretic action of dandelion is believed to be due to taraxasterol. Dandelion is a powerhouse of essential micronutrients. It contains vitamins A, C, E, K, and most of the members of the B complex. It also contains calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium.

Since dandelion contains potassium, it is sometimes recommended alongside loop and thiazide diuretics to help supplement the potassium ions washed away by those diuretics.

Horse chestnut is an effective herb, known to reduce swelling and improve blood flow. Studies report that it may be able to decrease leakage of fluids from the capillaries, caused by edema while promoting overall circulatory health.

The diuretic action of horse chestnut is attributed to its aescin and aseculin content. Aesculin produces its diuretic effect on the kidney and promotes sodium and potassium loss.

Aescin, on the other hand, prevents fluid retention in the connective tissues and reduces the permeability of blood vessels so that fluids do not leak out into interstitial spaces.

To seal off blood vessels, aescin inhibits the enzymes' hyaluronidase and elastase. These two enzymes are responsible for the breakdown of the mucopolysaccharides that make up the walls of blood vessels.

Ginkgo Biloba's ability to improve blood circulation makes it an effective natural remedy for edema. 

What is Dandelion?

Dandelion is the name of Taraxacum, a large family of flowering plants found everywhere in the world. The perennial herb has bright, yellow flowers and slender, hollow stalk. Its seeds emerge from the ripened flower and float off on hairy “parachutes” attached to them.

Every part of the plant can be used in herbal preparations.

Although all parts of the dandelion are edible, it is considered a weed. However, it is a beneficial weed that helps soils fix nitrogen, bring up nutrients for garden plants with shallow roots, attract pollinating insects, and releases ethylene which promotes fruit ripening.

The flowering heads are used in making dandelion wine. The roots can be dried and powdered to make dandelion coffee which has no caffeine. It is also found in root beer.

Dandelion is a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as members of the vitamin B complex such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and pantothenic acid.

It also contains these minerals: iron, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Other notable contents of dandelion include inulin, choline, and dietary fiber.

The biologically active compounds of dandelion extract include taraxasterol, Huma taraxasterol, taraxacin, and taraxacerin.

Dandelion is a tonic, a stimulant, and a diuretic. It is used to detoxify the kidneys and liver. Topical preparations of the herb are also used to treat skin diseases.

Case Studies 

In a clinical study of dandelion as a possible diuretic, published in the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" in 2009, individuals consumed dandelion extracts over 24 hours, with their urinary production measured every five hours. 

The dandelion extracts caused a significant rise in the amount of urine produced every two doses. Although this was a comparatively smaller study without a control group, the results suggest that dandelion may be used as an effective diuretic. 

4. Compression Support Stockings and Wraps 

Compression stockings are used to improve blood flow that is affected by poor circulation caused by edema. Edema is the clinical term for water retention, and it refers to the abnormal buildup of fluid under the skin, which may often be noticed in the lower legs, around the ankles, and feet. 

Some common causes of edema are sports injuries, humid weather, pregnancy, surgery, varicose veins, or sitting or standing for extended periods of time. Some underlying medical conditions may also lead to edema. 

Doctors may recommend edema patients to wear compression stockings to prevent fluid from building up in the tissues. These socks work well to create pressure on a patient’s legs and treat edema. 

The firmest socks are prescribed to people experiencing severe cases of lymphedema, also referred to as swelling and fluid retention in the body. 

What Are Compression Stockings?

Compression stockings are special hosiery intended to prevent or stop the progression of venous disorders such as edema, thrombosis, and phlebitis.

They are elastic and provide measured pressure against the legs to reduce the size of distended veins, increase blood flow, prevent the stagnation of blood in the veins, and the pooling of fluids in extracellular spaces.

Compression stockings exert their greatest pressure at the ankles. This pressure eases up all the way to the knees and thighs to provide graduated compression.

This process is known as compression therapy.

Compression therapy is used for chronic problems with fluid pooling in the legs, such as edema or chronic venous disease. Some people may have leg edema and do not know it because the swelling is mild. However, common symptoms that coincide with swelling include a heavy feeling in the legs, aching legs, and legs that always feel tired.

The most important benefit of compression therapy is the application of pressure on the tissues under the skin. This prevents fluid from pooling in the legs and encourages it to move up toward the heart as it does with healthy circulation. The pressure helps keep fluid inside the blood vessels and prevents it from leaking out. Another benefit of compression stockings prevents blood from flowing backward and causing congestion in blood vessels. This congestion can lead to an increased risk of blood clots and other serious health complications. Most swelling, skin discoloration, and leg pain, experienced with edema, are often caused by congestion in the blood vessels.

When Not to Use Compression Stockings

Not every case of edema should use compression stocking treatment. Although compression stockings are commonly used with edema patients, a few other conditions make it an unwise treatment option. Ultimately, your doctor will determine if compression stockings are right for your case of edema, but generally, compression stockings are not used if the following conditions are present:


  • Uncontrolled congestive heart failure
  • Skin infections
  • Open wounds
  • Ischemia
  • Untreated septic phlebitis of the leg
  • Sensitivity in the legs
  • Immobility
  • Phlegmasia cerulea dolens


Are Compression Stockings Helpful?

Compression stockings are prescribed for several conditions, including edema, pregnancy, and diabetes. The stockings are known to effectively reduce mild leg swelling. They should be worn during the day but taken off at night. 

These socks are made of a strong, elastic fabric that often runs from the foot to the thigh at different pressures based on the amount of pressure required. They are available in a variety of colors and styles and can be purchased over the counter or online. 

Gradient compression stockings are generally the most common type recommended for edema. Gradient compression stockings are tighter at the ankle and gradually loosen pressure toward the top of the stocking. This helps prevent fluid from pooling around the ankles, which is common in edema. Gradient stockings are also helpful for individuals with edema who have jobs requiring they sit or stand for long periods (like most American adults).

In addition to edema, compression stockings are helpful for the following health conditions:

What Conditions Need Compression Stockings
  • Edema
  • Aching legs
  • Leg swelling
  • Varicose veins
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Healed venous ulcer
  • Lymphedema
  • Active venous ulcer
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome 


Different Types of Compression Stockings 

Compression products are measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg. The measurements range from mild compression to extra-firm compression.

Mild compression (8-15 mmHg) can be used to get relief from tired and aching legs. This level of compression may also ease pain associated with mild varicose veins and help reduce minor swelling in the ankles and legs.

Moderate compression (15-20 mmHg) can be used to reduce mild to moderate leg swelling, sore legs, and mild leg pain.

Firm compression (20-30 mmHg) can be used to reduce moderate swelling or edema and mild to moderate leg pain. It may also be used to prevent the reoccurrence of venous ulcers in the legs.

Extra firm compression socks (30-40 mmHg) may be used to heal severe circulatory disorders of the legs, including severe swelling or edema. Patients, especially those with diabetes, should consult their physician before using compression socks or stockings. 

How to Use Compression Stockings

Given they are meant to compress a limb, compression stockings are somewhat difficult to put on. The area between your heel and ankle is much larger than the circumference of your ankle, making it challenging to slip the stockings over your foot. There are a few tricks to making the process easier.

  • Use rubber gloves to grab the stockings and pull them up.
  • Rub lotion into your leg before putting on the stockings.
  • Don't put the stockings on right after a shower.
  • Use both hands to gently pull the stockings into place.

How to Put On Compression Stockings

Put your stockings on the instant you wake, right after getting out of bed, if possible. This is the time of day when swelling is the lowest, which will make putting stockings on easier.

Sit on a chair with a back. Hold the top of the stocking in one hand and push your other arm through the stocking and grab the toe. Pull the toe up and turn the stocking wrong side out. Leave your fingers at the tip of the stocking.

Place your toes in the toe of the stocking where your fingers are. Gently roll and slide the stocking over your foot and heel. This will turn it right side out as you go along.

Gently roll the stocking up to its full height. Don't pull on the top of the stocking or it could tear, requiring the purchase of a new stocking.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe multiple stockings to be worn at once.  Legs should be fitted for compression stockings in the morning, or after the leg has been elevated for about half an hour. This will reduce swelling in the area and ensure an appropriately tight fit that will prevent fluid build-up.

How Long Should I Wear Compression Stockings for Edema?

Your doctor will give an estimate of how long you will have to wear compression stockings. Every few weeks or months you will go in for an evaluation to determine if you no longer have to wear the stockings. However, in some cases, it is necessary to wear compression stockings for months, years, or even the rest of your life. If you can get edema under control with other treatments, like herbal supplements, diuretics, and prescription treatments, your duration of wearing compression stockings will be lessened. However, if you have weak veins that have been damaged in some way or that cannot prevent fluid from escaping, it can be dangerous to let edema continue. It is better to wear compression stockings for several months or years than endanger your health by removing them too early.

More Information on Compression Stockings

Before compression stockings are recommended, the prescribing physician should first calculate the patient’s ABI (Ankle Brachial Index).

Compression stockings are only needed for patients whose ABI scores exceed 1.0 per leg. These stockings will increase the risk of obstructing a patient’s arterial blood flow if worn over legs with ABI scores less than 1.0.

Unless an edema patient can ascertain that her legs have ABI scores greater than 1.0, that the stockings’ compression gradient is 15 – 20 mmHg, and that they are a perfect fit, a doctor’s examination and prescription are necessary before using compression stockings.

Compression stockings can either be gradient or anti-embolism.

Gradient compression stockings are recommended for patients with edema in the lower limbs, those prone to a blood clot or blood pooling after an extended period of time spent sitting.

Anti-embolism compression stockings are used to stimulate the venous and lymphatic drainage of the legs. This type of compression stockings requires the pumping action of the calf muscles to improve blood and lymph circulation in the legs.

Anti-embolism compression stockings are mostly used for patients who will not be on their feet for some time especially after surgeries.

Compression stockings go by different names depending on their intended use. Support compression stockings are over-the-counter compression stockings providing mild compression and needing no doctor’s prescription to buy.

Lymphedema compression stockings are used to manage edema caused by an impaired lymphatic system. Anti-embolism compression stockings are made for non-ambulatory patients to prevent thrombosis in the veins due to prolonged pooling of blood in the legs.

Circular knit compression stockings are embroidered to provide aesthetic appeal. Flat knit compression stockings are high compression stockings with seams that can be adapted to any shape or size.

Custom compression stockings are specially ordered stockings that are designed for specific individuals. Silver compression stockings have special silver fibers in the textile material; silver is included for its anti-microbial properties.

Compression stockings carry special designations to differentiate their length. Knee-high stockings are coded AD. AG is for thigh-high stockings and pantyhose compression stockings are labeled AT.

Care for Compression Stockings

If you are ordering compression stockings, it is important to take your measurements in the right way to ensure a perfect fit. The compression stockings should be snug against your skin and not too tight or too loose as to wrinkle or bunch.

You should take measurements early in the morning if your legs swell during the day, and measurements should be preferably taken while standing although a seated position is acceptable for non-ambulatory patients.

Leave on any wound dressing while taking these measurements and measure directly over skin and not over clothes.

Make sure to follow the attached instructions when wearing compression stockings. Generally, you should hold each stocking by the heel then gently slide your foot in until the toes and heel are in place. Then pull the stocking by its top and roll over the calf up to where the length runs out.

Since compression stockings are made of elastic materials, they should be preferably hand washed with cold or lukewarm water. Heat should be avoided as much as possible. Therefore, ironing is also discouraged.

Dry out the stockings on a line spread in a shade. You should never wring compression stockings or bleach or machine-dry them.

When to Wear Compression Stockings 

You may wear compression socks to improve your circulation and reduce edema. These garments keep the pressure on your legs to prevent excess fluid from collecting in the tissues.

Ask your doctor which compression level is suitable for your edema condition. Physicians may also prescribe diuretics for edema patients to force the kidneys to excrete more water and reduce fluid retention

Compression stockings should not be worn by edema patients who also suffer from congestive heart failure, septic phlebitis, oozing dermatitis, peripheral obstructive arterial disease, and loss of sensation in the extremities.

Compression Stockings for Edema Provide Benefit

Compression stockings are one of the number one prescribed treatments for edema. The stockings work alongside other treatments, like herbal treatments to prevent edema from returning and diuretics to reduce swelling and edema temporarily. In some cases, compression stockings can be life-saving devices and are beneficial in multiple ways.

If you suffer from chronic edema, ask your doctor whether compression stockings are right for you. In addition to providing benefit to everyone, compression stockings are particularly helpful for pregnant women with edema, as many common remedies for edema are not safe to use during pregnancy. 

For more information on edema and its treatment methods, read these articles: Edema Diet: Foods to Avoid, Leg Edema Treatment, and Types of Edema.

5. Try Capisette 

You may consider using Capisette, an effective natural remedy for fluid retention. This is a unique supplement designed specifically for reducing swelling caused by edema. It contains powerful herbs such as dandelion extract, horse chestnut, ginkgo biloba, and buchu extracts.

Next Article: Edema Diet: Foods to Avoid for Edema