5 Things Doctors Do To Tackle Their Fluid Retention At Home

It isn’t always clear what causes water retention and contributing factors can include our diets, menstrual cycles and even genetics.

However, it is often due to what we eat and drink, and how we move. The symptoms can be relieved by making some changes to our lifestyle that are easy to implement and make a huge difference not only to our fluid retention symptoms but our overall health.

GP and LoSalt advisor, Dr Sarah Jarvis, said: “Every GP has lots of consultations with people who feel bloated or full of fluid. Sometimes, fluid retention can be a sign of a serious medical condition, however, more often the fluid is relatively mild – although it can still be a real cause of discomfort.

“Fortunately, with some easy changes to things like diet and exercise, lots of people can help to ease their symptoms.”

Causes of fluid retention and how to get rid of it

Dr Jarvis shared with us the best tips for getting rid of fluid retention.

Be mindful of how much salt you add to your food

Salt is necessary for our diets but we often add more than we need. Too much salt in the system leads your body to retaining more water in the blood vessels. Some studies have pointed to salt as a contributing factor to water retention and bloating.

Adults shouldn’t have more than a teaspoon a day (about 6 grams) from all sources – that includes salt you add at the table and salt already in the food you eat. On average, however, adults in England are consuming 8.4 grams a day – that’s 40 percent higher than the national guideline.

For many of us adding salt to food is done out of habit. Rather than adding salt to cooking, try flavouring food with spices, garlic (or garlic powder) and lemon juice, and help reduce your daily intake. If you do want the taste of salt, switch to a reduced sodium alternative such as LoSalt.

Make sure that you’re drinking enough water 

Dr Jarvis advises that while this may sound counterintuitive, drinking water can actually reduce water weight. This is because dehydration can make the body hold onto extra water to make up for the lack of water coming in.

Water also improves kidney function, allowing excess water and sodium to be flushed out of the system.

Try to move more often

Not moving enough and sitting for too long can lead to fluid retention. Try to exercise more often as sweating makes you lose water. Do some light exercise or eevn a 30 minute walk. This will shift a lot of water into your muscles, making movement less uncomfortable.

Make the most of tea and coffee

Caffeine and beverages that contain caffeine like coffee and tea can help reduce fluid retention. This is because caffeine may have a diuretic effect and increase short-term urine output. This could increase the amount of water that leaves your body, therefore decreasing water weight.

Cut back on processed foods 

Dr Jarvis warns that a lot of the salt we consume is found in ultra-processed foods including ready meals, soups, and snacks. She noted that these foods are also high in refined carbs and unhealthy fats.

Instead, she advises cooking from scratch as much as possible and not having processed meats like bacon, ham, and sausages too often as these are often very high in sodium.

The symptoms of water retention

According to Healthline, symptoms of water retention can include:

  • bloating, especially in the abdominal area

  • swollen legs, feet, and ankles

  • puffiness of the abdomen, face, and hips

  • stiff joints

  • weight fluctuations

However, if you’re also experiencing any of these symptoms, you need to call 111 or go to your local A&E as it may be a DVT:

  • pain

  • swelling

  • tenderness

  • skin that feels warm to the touch

Speak to your GP if symptoms don’t subside.