Water Retention: Causes and Treatments


Lately, we are always advised to drink at least 2 liters of fluid every day, no matter if we’re on a diet or not. The truth is hydration helps us in a lot of aspects, such as weight-loss, skin, digestion, detoxification and the list goes on. Normally, the human body gets rid of excess water through sweat and urine, but if these processes do not function properly water retention appears.

The most common symptoms of fluid retention are the swelling of extremities: feet, ankles and hands, but swelling can also occur throughout the entire body. Water retention has many possible causes, such as medical conditions, certain medications, allergies, menopause, PMS, hot weather, nutrition and lifestyle.

How to fight it

If you have a medical condition and/or take certain drugs which can lead to fluid retention it is best to consult a physician. This article focuses on providing various ways to fight water retention caused by incorrect eating habits and generally an improper life style. If you suspect that fluid retention can be the symptom of a disease you should focus on eliminating the problem that causes it.


Too much salt in your food inevitably leads to fluid retention. Try to limit your salt intake and avoid processed, packaged foods (which usually contain high levels of sodium). Instead try to consume lots of fruits and vegetables (raw and cooked). When using less salt, the food will seem tasteless at first, but after a while you will get used to it. Moreover, you will be able to appreciate the natural taste of the food much better than before.

There are various foods with diuretic properties you can include in your meals, such as celery, onion, eggplant, asparagus, watermelon, pineapple, parsley, green beans, ginger, watercress, salmon and juniper. Several diuretic herbal teas are quite popular for their proven effects. These include dandelion, yarrow, cornsilk, St. John’s Wort, horsetail, burdock and green tea. There are also various herbal remedies based on diuretic plants and foods that work very well without posing any threat to your health.

Last, but not least, hydration is still important so don’t forget to drink plenty of water. It may sound weird, but dehydration leads to water retention. If your body doesn’t receive enough water it will protect itself by keeping the one it already has by storing water in the cells.


Body wraps are a good way to eliminate excess fluids from your system, especially the ones that have intense sweating as an effect. Saunas are even better, so as long as you can tolerate this treatment give it a try. It will also increase your circulation, flush out toxins and cleanse your skin.

Physical Exercise

No matter which type of workout you prefer, it will be one of the best ways to fight water retention. Sedentary lifestyle is also a triggering factor of water retention since staying in the same position for long periods causes fluid buildup in the legs, ankles and feet. If you don’t have time to regularly workout, try to walk as much as possible. Walking also stimulates circulation in your lower body parts pumping the excess fluid from your legs to your heart.

Bad habits that should be avoided

Alcohol, coffee and colas are dehydrating drinks. Try not to drink more than 1 cup of coffee every day and limit your intake of alcohol.

Don’t keep your feet down when you’re at home watching TV or reading a book. Your feet should be a little higher than your hips to stimulate the blood flow.

Avoid eating too much salt and foods that contain high amounts of sodium, such as processed cheese and meat.

Do not cross your legs when you are sitting down as this can further obstruct the blood flow through the thigh veins, on top of the gravity effect.

Tight clothing also restricts the removal of fluid from the lower legs. Try to wear clothes that fit you, not the ones you have to squeeze into.