Factors that cause fluid retention and prevent you from losing weight
Do you feel that the belt tightens you more than usual and you have a few extra kilos? Don't worry, you may not be fat, but you may have fluid retention .
The good side is that it is much easier to eliminate accumulated water than body fat.
Therefore, in this post we will show you the causes that cause it so that this condition never prevents you from losing weight.
Edema or fluid retention
Water is vital for human beings, in fact, the body consists of approximately 60% of it for its proper functioning and is, in large part, responsible for dissolving nutrients and eliminating waste.
Let's start by knowing what fluid retention is. Also called edema or water retention is an excess of fluid that accumulates in the tissues of your body.
It is usually characterized by swelling of the feet and lower legs, but swelling may also occur in the arms, hands, face, or other areas of the body.
It is usually temporary and can be easily treated; however, it could be due to a wide range of conditions and diseases .
If you experience fluid retention that lasts for more than a week, it's important to see your doctor to determine its cause and rule out any health problems.
Types of fluid retention
There are extensive types of fluid retention:
- Generalized edema : characterized by swelling throughout the body.
- Localized edema : affects certain parts of the body. This condition is most common in the legs and feet, although it can also affect areas of the face, hands, and arms.
- Lymphedema ( a specific type of localized edema ): Fluid builds up in a leg or arm due to a blockage in the lymphatic system (the body's second circulatory system).
The latter condition can be inherited or be the result of an injury to the lymphatic vessels.
Signs to know if you are retaining fluid
How do I recognize it? It is usually first noticed by swelling of the extremities.
The physical signs are the most obvious, since they are easier to perceive:
- Swollen ankles.
- Unexplained weight gain for a short period of time.
Knowing that it is fluid retention, this may be accompanied by other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Morning stiffness.
- The headaches.
- Fluid retention can also be confused with PMS or make existing PMS worse.
It may be accompanied by other symptoms that affect the cardiovascular system:
- Pain or pressure in the chest.
- Inability to walk long distances.
- Difficulty breathing.
Sometimes it is accompanied by symptoms related to other body systems:
- Decrease in body hair, especially in areas of swelling.
- Discomfort or pain in the part affected by the swelling.
- Reduced ability to move the damaged area.
- Skin changes in the swollen area, including thickening and loss of elasticity.
Believe it or not, it is possible to retain up to 5 pounds of water weight .
Overweight people tend to retain more fluid because they consume more calories and tend to ingest higher amounts of sodium from a diet high in salt.
An easy way to tell if you are retaining fluid is to gently press on the foot, ankle, calf, or area of swelling, using slow, steady pressure with your thumb. If there is edema, it will show an indentation in the skin.
However, professional evaluation is still necessary and important to determine the cause.
What causes fluid retention?
Edema can be due to several common conditions including:
- Too much fluid in the tissues of your body.
- A bad reaction to certain types of food.
- Protein deficiency.
- Anemia or a high requirement for vitamin and supplement intake.
- A medical condition that involves organs such as the liver, heart, or kidneys.
- Standing for long periods of time causes fluids to accumulate in the legs, which increases water retention.
- Hot weather can also lead to fluid retention because the body is less efficient at removing fluid from the body.
- Certain medications can cause water retention, especially high blood pressure medications and steroids.
- Excess salt in your diet.
- Heart failure.
- Kidney diseases (kidney stones, kidney failure and abnormalities).
- Liver diseases (hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver failure).
- Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes due to inflammation or tumor).
- Parasitic infection such as lymphatic filariasis .
- The pregnancy.
- Recent surgery.
- Sitting or standing in the same position for a long period of time.
When an area of the body is not working properly, the body tends to retain fluid in that specific area, becoming unable to remove it properly when certain medical conditions occur.
There is an increased risk of fluid retention in women due to different hormone levels:
- Menopausal and premenstrual edema is caused by the effect of hormones on fluid balance.
- Hormonal changes for women before the menstrual period also cause retention and can lead to symptoms like breast tenderness.
Complications in fluid retention
Complications of edema vary widely depending on severity and cause.
Once the cause is diagnosed, it is important to follow the treatment plan that the health professional designed, specifically to reduce the risk of complications, which could be:
- Heart failure.
- Infection in and around the area of edema.
- Loss of mobility.
- Organ failure or dysfunction.
- Progressive physical disability.
- Respiratory insufficiency.
- Skin ulcerations.
- Spread of cancer.
Questions to diagnose the cause of fluid retention
These will be some of the questions that your doctor will ask you to diagnose the cause of why you are retaining fluid:
- When did you first notice fluid retention?
- Where have you noticed it?
- Do you have any difficulty with physical activity?
- Do you have trouble sleeping?
- Do you have other symptoms?
- Is there anything that improves or worsens your fluid retention?
- What is your typical diet?
- What medications are you taking?
Some tips to help you reduce fluid retention in your body
- Increase potassium intake. It is recommended to eat foods high in potassium instead of taking potassium supplements.
- They consume vitamin B6 or pyridoxine.
- Eliminate junk food and processed foods.
- Cut down on foods high in sodium, because too much sodium in your blood can affect your tissues and cause you to retain fluid.
- Some doctors recommend drinking herbal teas as they help to drain the water.
- Wearing compression stockings that apply high pressure to the ankles may also be effective for you.
- Drink 8 to 12 glasses of fluids. Water alone doesn't help fight retention, but it goes a long way to reduce it. As contradictory as it may seem, it does work.
- Eat more citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- Avoid eating a lot of meat and alternate it with sardines or tuna.
- Include whole carbohydrates in the daily diet.
- Eat small meals at regular intervals.
- Move regularly (cycling and walking can also help pump out any water or other fluids in your ankles and legs).
- If you work sitting at a desk, it's important to take breaks to walk around and stretch your joints.
We may sound pushy, but your safety is paramount. Before following any advice to reduce fluid retention, be sure to consult with your doctor.
The final recommendation is that you eat a good diet and move as much as you can. Not only will you prevent fluid from being retained in your body, but you will lose weight.