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Remedies for Retaining Water

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
Remedies for Retaining Water
Drinking water may help. Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Water retention occurs when fluid pools in your body, usually helped by gravity, making your lower extremities look puffy and feel tender. Water retention can happen anywhere on the body, but it is most common in the extremities, belly and facial areas. If you notice that you're feeling swollen and tender, try remedies for retaining water. If you still can't find relief, you may need to schedule an appointment with your doctor to explore the cause and treatment for your water retention.

Drink Water

It may sound counter-intuitive, but drinking more water can actually help to relieve some of the swelling and tenderness associated with water retention. Your body may be retaining water because you're dehydrated. By drinking more water, you can help flush the excess water out of your system to help relieve swelling. MayoClinic.com suggests drinking at least eight glasses of water per day in order to stay properly hydrated.

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Avoid Salt

A common cause of water retention is too much sodium in the body. Too much sodium can water log your tissues so they're unable to absorb water properly, warns Charles Tifft, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine in the MotherNature.com book, "Symptoms, Their Causes and Cures." Look for areas in your diet where you may be consuming too much salt. While the usual culprits include french fries and chips, sodium may be hiding in a number of foods you eat daily. Read labels and keep your sodium intake under 2,000 to 2,400 mg per day.

Move Around

When you remain in one position for too long, fluid can build up and pool in your lower extremities. This can be especially bothersome when you cannot stand up easily, like on an airplane or in a long meeting. Whenever possible, walk around to disperse the fluid more effectively in your legs to help reduce swelling, suggests CNN.com contributor, Dr. Jennifer Shu. When possible, elevate your legs by slipping a few pillows underneath them or propping them up on a chair to help relieve the swelling and tenderness of water retention.

Massage and Compress

Compression hose is often advised when you suffer from water retention, especially if you're going to be sitting for a long period of time, have poor circulation in the legs or are pregnant. Compression works to keep fluid out of the legs so it's more evenly dispersed. If you notice that your legs are beginning to swell, try massaging your legs gently in order to remove the pockets of fluid.

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