How to get rid of water retention naturally

water retention

Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M.D.

How to eliminate water retention? Our body is continuously changing all the time. As years go by, we begin to notice how the body is manifesting sure signs through symptoms that allow us to identify those variations, which, on many occasions, tend to appear due to age.

To eliminate water retention or edema, we must reduce salt intake, start a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and hydrate the body with a large amount of water (except you have a kidney problem). It has to be accompanied by moderate and constant exercise.

On several occasions, your body can begin to manifest essential changes that could even put your health at risk. Also, your skin will suffer critical changes. Here you will learn how to combat fluid retention and solve it.

It is widespread for diseases of any kind to appear when, in a certain way, we exceed what our body is willing to receive or assimilate.

We ignore what our body needs to enable our body to function optimally and combat this fluid retention. That can include overeating, regularly ingesting the same food (including very healthy ones).

Eating fried food, flour or fat in excess, even skipping meals, not providing the necessary nutrition for your body, or preferring not to eat to lose weight, among other decisions, can be the trigger for many changes in our body.

Likewise, stress, excessive alcohol or cigarette consumption, and a constant overwhelming lifestyle can damage our health, even if we eat well. Our body can suffer various changes, either by disease, moods, metabolism changes, etc.

Fluid retention is perhaps one of the most common problems that can occur, affecting anyone regardless of age or gender.

Table of Contents

What is water retention?

water retention

Fluid retention or edema occurs when too much fluid is stored outside the cells, i.e., in the interstitial tissue. There is always fluid in this area, but some people may notice an increase in weight when there is more than usual, especially in women. For example, this can happen just before having their period when they are in the premenstrual state. I have seen that they can gain up to three kilos of liquid. It is not that they have gained weight, but the fluid has gone up, and when the menstruation goes down, they lose it again.

Fluid retention, also called edema or dropsy, is the excessive accumulation of water or other fluids in the body (especially in the interstitium). This water retention or edema causes swelling of the skin, especially in the ankles, legs, wrists, and abdomen.

Although fluid retention is not a disease in itself, its causes can appear to various reasons and illnesses, such as liver damage, problems with the kidneys, heart, and digestion.

Some causes of fluid retention and how to fix them

There are many reasons we may have fluid retention in the body, including pathological conditions such as kidney deficiency, heart difficulties, and thyroid problems.

However, to know the specific cause of its appearance when there is no pathological reason, it is essential to pay attention to its signals.

That is to say. We must learn to know our bodies and know what things, situations, or foods may harm us. In this way, we begin to understand the reasons for the alterations that our body suffers.

The fluid retention in our bodies can be caused by:

  • Blood circulation problems.
  • Medications. If you are taking any medication that you notice is not convenient for you, consult your doctor to see what side effects it has and if there can be any relation with the retention.
  • Some illnesses or pathologies. I advise you to have a general check-up and a blood test to see that your kidneys and liver are working well and, in short, that this fluid retention is not the cause of any illness or pathology that you do not know you have. 
  • Overweight and obesity. These two factors can cause fluid retention and also make
  • Bad diet. Suppose we have a diet that is too rich in salt, sodium, lacking potassium, magnesium, and water. 
  • Excessive consumption of salt.
  • Excessive consumption of sugar.

Pregnancy and the menstrual cycle in each woman is different, and both are subject to hormonal changes. Some treatments can help reduce fluid retention from this cause, such as magnesium. However, the most sensible thing is to go to the gynecologist and have our doctor tell us if we should start any treatment.

To eliminate the retention of liquids due to an improper diet, you must:

  • Begin a diet based on vegetables, that is to say, that there are many fruits and many foods of vegetable origin such as vegetables. 
  • Try to incorporate whole grains as well.
  • Avoid processed foods or even packaged foods that we do not consider processed. 
  • Limit or avoid everything that comes in jars and cans. 
  • Avoid pre-cooked products; all of this will have a lot of salt.

I have found that many people who tend to retain liquid avoid drinking water because they believe that altering water will swell more.

It should not be that way because If fluid retention comes from a kidney problem, then, of course, there will be a water restriction because drinking water will swell us. 

But if water retention has nothing to do with this type of medical problem, the solution lies just the opposite. I recommend you to drink as much water as possible to help eliminate this water retention.

How to get rid of water retention naturally

how to get rid of edema

How to get rid of bloating and water retention fast? Suppose you have symptoms such as swelling in your legs or abdomen before your period or during pregnancy. In that case, you must avoid eating salt to help your body eliminate the excess fluids that accumulate in it during that period.
If you continue to observe the same symptoms after several menstrual cycles or during pregnancy, it is advisable to see your specialist.

Reduce your salt intake

Sodium consumption is essential for your body since it helps maintain blood pressure and is necessary for the tissues to function correctly.

However, its high consumption can also be harmful, causing the opposite effect on blood pressure and affecting the body, especially the kidneys.

When your body fails to release excess sodium, it begins to work twice as hard and start retaining fluids. To combat fluid retention from this cause, if you are one of those who eat very salty foods frequently or consume foods containing high salt levels.

Such as dairy products, sausages, nuts, among others, and you’re feeling bloated or very thirsty. Then it would be best if you tried to lower your sodium intake and drink the necessary amounts of water per day.

Check the sodium levels in foods such as drinks, cheeses, canned goods, cookies, etc. Avoid those containing sodium, such as canned fish like cod, salt-packed peanuts.

Have a mild physical activity

I would not recommend a person with fluid retention to at least begin very intense physical activity. He should have a more prolonged and, above all, frequent gentle physical exercise.
It is essential to give that entire lymphatic system mobility. You will know perfectly well that if you sit in a chair, if you stand, if you take a walk or go shopping, you tend to walk a little bit, stop, walk slightly, and stand up. If we do this, the tendency to fluid retention shoots up.

You may be interested in "Master how to get in shape at home without equipment."

Wear compression stockings occasionally

It would be best to use pressure stocking, only on designated days, from my perspective. I am not in favor of always using them unless you have a significant problem, such as primary lymphedema.

If you have more or less slight fluid retention more or less bearable, more or less variable, I would not recommend you always to wear pressure stockings. It would be best if you gave your system a chance to work. Putting on pressure measures for good every day is a failure.

Finally, if you already want to assume it and not try other things and not give your body a chance to do its job, put them on. If you still think your body can do it, I’d instead put them on only when you know you will go for a walk or a shopping spree.

Avoid excessively hot water

You should also avoid taking hot showers, which causes a lot of dilation and reduces the tissues’ ability to press out.

Avoid tight clothing

You should also avoid tight dress, not like pressure socks, but tight so that:

  • Put pressure on the groin.
  • Let the wrinkles put pressure on the knee.
  • Too tight socks, etc.

This type of punctual compressions in specific areas makes it difficult to ascend in the lymphatic system.

Put your feet up

A significant measure to combat fluid retention or edema is to elevate the feet whenever possible, especially after work. If you are sitting or standing for a long time, you should get home and have some time to put your feet above the heart level.

We can do it even in bed and raise the foot area to encourage this return during the night.


Phytotherapy is your great ally against edema. Make 4 or 5 weeks of infusion treatment with these herbs to help your circulatory system and your water system. I will give you a list of herbs, but there are more you can find.

  • Green tea.
  • Artichoke.
  • Green nettle.
  • Horsetail.
  • Dandelion.
  • Red vine.
  • Redcurrant.

I insist these are some of the ones you can improve to help these water retention problems. There are probably others in your area or your country. Look for which herbs are suitable for water retention, and above all, it varies and doesn’t always use the same ones.

Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet

If we suffer from fluid retention or edema, we should eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Also, we must reduce as much as possible the foods that, in some way, fatten the blood. Of course, fruits and vegetables are the least likely to cause this.
Include more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, since most diuretic foods will allow you to eliminate sodium and water through urine or feces. Among them are celery, beets, pineapple, cucumber, zucchini, melon, sideburns, asparagus, pears, etc.

You may be interested in "The 22 best foods for your health according to science."

Avoid excessive sugar consumption

Like salt, high sugar intake can be harmful to your health. Desserts are a great temptation, and having a taste from time to time is not bad, but when sugar consumption is constant, the damage can be significant and even irreversible.

Diseases such as diabetes can present symptoms such as fluid retention.

Tips to avoid water retention due to excessive sugar consumption

  • You can substitute the consumption of sugar with sweeteners. However, it would be best if you controlled its consumption to avoid damage to the body.
  • Avoid consumption of desserts, foods containing sugar or carbohydrates in the evening hours, as they take longer for the body to process and, therefore, can cause fluid retention.

Avoid sugary drinks 

Your body may likely be dehydrated if you avoid water consumption and substitute other types of fluids at times when you are thirsty.

Avoid drinks such as soft drinks or soda, drinks with artificial sweeteners, coffee, natural juices with high sugar content, or other infusions with a diuretic effect.

By substituting water for other less healthy drinks, you are putting your health at risk. You also increase the chances of suffering from fluid retention.

Water is fundamental for your body, so its consumption should not be an alternative when your body asks for it.

You may be interested in "Why is it important to drink water?"

Hydrate yourself 

A person with fluid retention must have the proper hydration to renew these fluids and eliminate toxins.

  •  If you are physically active, it is best to join your activities or exercise routines with water.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. You have to drink at least one of them in the morning before breakfast and one at the end of dinner.
  • During the summer, our body loses large amounts of liquid through sweat. That is probably not a reason to be always thirsty, as every person and everybody is different.

However, water consumption is essential to keep your body hydrated during those times when temperatures rise. Dehydration from this cause is widespread, so don’t forget to drink enough water every time you can.

Excessive alcohol consumption is highly harmful to our body since, in addition to intoxicating the liver, it can dehydrate your body and, at the same time, produce liquid retention.

That is because alcohol produces a diuretic effect, and for that reason, the desire to urinate is more frequent. When this happens, you eliminate more liquid from your body and, therefore, minerals, leaving only alcohol’s harmful effects. That generates discomfort and thirst after its high consumption.

If you are one of those who ingest a lot of alcohol and in a constant way, it is probable that with the time, you can appreciate the changes that its consumption has left on your skin because it dehydrates it and dries it up notably.


Take a bath with cold water

Taking a shower is one of the most pleasant moments of the day, especially when we want to relax and shed all the burden of activities we do during the day.

In these cases, warm or hot water helps relax our muscles, but is it beneficial to our health? If we do it properly, yes, showering with warm water from time to time does not negatively affect the body.

If we are retaining liquids or varicose veins are appearing in our legs, hot water is the worst option to fight them. In these cases, the best thing is to shower with cold water to improve circulation in the body.

Avoid spending too much time standing or sitting

Our blood circulation can be affected if we are:

  • Working all day sitting or in front of a computer.
  • Being on our feet for many hours to accomplish our daily activities. 

It will always be necessary to get up for a while if we spend a lot of time in the seat or rest if we spend a lot of time standing.

One recommendation to improve circulation is to place your feet up for at least 20 minutes.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]The article was reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josué Alvarez. Medical Doctor graduated from Medical School Universidad Nacional Experimental Francisco de Miranda. Área Ciencias de la Salud. •Awarded winner IV Science Fair of Research Methodology - April 2012 •Recipient of Asesor Estudiantil Institucional Scholarship •Thesis: Relationship Between Parasitosis, Anemia and Hygiene Habits in patients aged 20 yo 70 years old in Amuay, municipality of Los Taques, Falcón State, Venezuela •Thesis: Intervention Plan in Rural Healthcare in Monte Verde and La Puntica sectors, of the Amuay Community, Los Taques parish, Los Taques municipality, of the Falcón State, Venezuela. During the period March 2018 - July 2018[/author_info] [/author]