Monday, March 25, 2013

How I combat Water Retention

Hello everyone! So sorry I've not been blogging~ I was really busy preparing for my trip to Japan this Thursday. >.< 

But anyway, I'm here to blog today on how I combat with water retention!

Just to touch a bit on my medical history, I've been on medication for Hypothyroidism since I was 14 years old. Just about 2 years back when I was 22 years old, my right knee swelled up for no reason and doctors were not able to diagnose what happened. I lived with it and all of a sudden, about 1 month back, my right index finger and right wrist swelled up and was really painful, I couldn't bend my wrist/ finger without feeling any stiffness or pain.

My family doctor then suspected that it might be some kind of Rheumatoid arthritis, chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that commonly attacks the joints.

Ok... Enough of my history, I'll continue my story as we go on as my water retention story has got something to do with medications that I took for my stiff wrist and finger.

So what IS water retention?

Extracted from various sites:
Water retention aka Edema, is the abnormal build up of fluid in the body. Edema is commonly seen in the feet and ankles. Because of the effect of gravity, swelling is particularly noticeable in these locations.
But swelling due to water retention involves the enlargement of organs, skin, or other body structures. It is caused by excessive build up of fluid in the tissues. This build up can lead to a rapid increase in weight over a short period of time (days to weeks). Swelling can occur throughout the body (generalized) or it may be limited to a specific part of the body (localized).

Possible causes for water retention:
- Lack of water intake
- High sodium (salt) diet
- Medications (e.g. Birth control pills, steroids, blood pressure lowering drugs, anti-depressants etc..)
- Pregnancy
- Kidney malfunction
- Histamine (Insect/ mosquito bites)
- Pre-menstrual bloat
- Thyroid disease

There are many more causes to water retention but I shall just stop here, it will take forever to list all of them down. But these are the main ones that could cause water retention.

I've never had water retention before so it was pretty easy for me to identify what caused it. Since I was on medication for years for my thyroid, it'd definitely couldn't be the cause of it.
I did a Google search on the medications my doctor gave me for my stiff and inflamed wrist and realised I was given some kind of steroid (I've never eaten steroids in my life so far) to reduce the inflammation and that particular steroid has side effects of swelling.

The swelling was so bad that I put on a total of 6 kg! YEP! A WHIPPING 6KG WORTH OF WATER!!
 It is totally normal if you put on that much weight if you tend to have water retention.
My legs were sooo sore and heavy I could hardly walk properly.

I stopped taking the steroids and it kinda went down but I wanted it all to go away! So this was what I did everyday for about 4 days before it completely went down and my weight went back to normal~

1. Water intake of at least 8 (8-ounce) glasses

Very contradictory and people always have this thinking that water retention is caused by drinking too much water which is very very wrong!
If you're dehydrated, your body automatically retains the fluids in your body and disallows it to get rid of toxins.
It will be best if you could just add a few slices of lemon, lime, or orange as citrus is high in potassium and can relieve bloating!

2. Wear compression stockings

With good blood circulation, your water retention will definitely reduce! That's what compression stockings does, reduce bloatedness, aids with tired and aching feet etc... 
I wear the Dr. Scholl's Qtto night stockings every night when I go to sleep and it helps circulate the blood in my legs and feet at night. 
Not only that, it helps make my legs look slimmer the next day~ hehe~ 
Even if you do not have water retention, I still think it is something worth investing on.

3. Elevate your legs whenever you can

Again, even if you do not have water retention problems, it is always good to elevate your legs like in the picture above to improve and let blood circulate back to your heart. This elevating action helps to reduce swelling as well~
I don't have a special pillow like the one in the picture so what I did was to stack a couple of normal pillows on top of each other and lay my legs on it, it was kinda difficult cos I had to tryyyyy not to toss and turn while I slept.

4. Reduce sodium intake in daily diet

Although excessive salt intake might not be the main cause of your water retention, it can be the contributor of it. The main component of salt is sodium, which the body dilutes with water if too much of it is present. Salt makes you thirsty, and your body will hold on to this water. 
Reducing the amount of salt in your diet will help you to release a little water retention, not all, but helps a little at least.

This was what I did everyday for about 4 days and was I glad the swelling went down (so did my weight) ~ PHEW~

Here are some other ways that should work as well:
- Do regular exercise
- Do not stand/ sit for too long
- Avoid extremes of temperature, such as hot baths, showers, and saunas. Dress warmly if it is cold.
Massage - if the affected area is stroked firmly in the direction of the heart it may help move the fluid.
Increase intake of food sources that contains potassium(melons, citrus fruits),Vitamin B6 (whole grains, salt free nuts)
- Try a natural diuretic (e.g. watercress, watermelons, cucumbers, oats, tomatoes, celery, carrots etc..)

I hope this post helps anyone of you facing the same problem like I did!

I'll see you soon in my next post!!


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  1. this is a really useful post! thanks for posting n have a nice trip! :)

    1. I hope it helps others too!
      hehe~ Thanks!!

    2. well explain all causes of water retention and what should avoid to reduce it, all natural ways of reducing this problem takes little time but if we take extra supplements like Expelis it increases speed to reduce this problem