Water retention: what it is, causes and remedies

Water retention: what it is, causes and remedies

Water retention causes swelling of the ankles, legs, thighs and other areas of the body and can lead to the development of the much-hated cellulite


  • What's this
  • Causes and consequences
  • What to do
  • Natural remedies

What's this

Water retention consists of an accumulation of liquids within the tissues, causing swelling. It is mainly women who suffer from water retention, in particular women with a gynoid body constitution, commonly called "pear". The areas of the body most affected by water retention are generally the lower limbs and generally the edema is widespread especially in the buttocks, thighs and legs.

The accumulation of liquids within the tissues is easily detectable by some signs and symptoms, including the sense of heaviness in the legs and swelling of the feet and ankles. Generally these symptoms tend to appear when you spend a lot of time sitting or several hours standing. The swelling can then worsen upon awakening, at the end of the day and during the summer season, when temperatures are high. However, water retention is not always so evident and in some cases the accumulation of fluid does not lead to perceptible swelling.

In the absence of particular symptoms, to understand if you have water retention it is sufficient to look in the mirror, standing. If after about a minute the color of the thighs and legs appears uneven, with white areas and red areas, it is possible that you suffer from water retention. Another test is to press the skin with a fingertip: if a white mark remains that disappears in a longer time than other parts of the body, it means that the tissue is affected by edema due to water retention.

Causes and consequences

Water retention is caused by blood and lymphatic circulation disorders which in turn can depend on genetic, hormonal factors, being overweight, a diet rich in salt or a sedentary lifestyle and a number of other causes that slow down blood and lymphatic circulation. The accumulation of fluids is therefore caused by the slowing of blood and lymphatic flow, which is unable to remove waste substances produced by cellular metabolism. The waste substances therefore accumulate until they come out of the cells together with the cellular fluid.

The consequence of the stagnation of liquids, in addition to swelling, is the appearance of cellulite. The excess of liquid outside the adipocytes, in fact, causes a series of reactions that lead to the orange peel. Over time, the stagnation of liquids causes the surrounding tissues – including the skin – to lose their firmness. Thighs, buttocks and other areas of the body will appear more relaxed and less toned. The tissues damaged by water retention are then replaced with scar tissue that causes the classic "holes" of cellulite. In the areas affected by water retention an inflammatory process is established which, in addition to causing a more or less visible swelling, causes pain due to pressure. If you suffer from water retention it is therefore important to take action to improve blood and lymphatic circulation and thus prevent the appearance of cellulite.

What to do

To counteract water retention it is necessary to intervene to improve blood and lymphatic circulation, so as to favor the process of eliminating accumulated fluids. Although there are factors that predispose to this condition, much can be done by changing your habits. If for work you are forced to spend a lot of time sitting or standing, it is good to carve out 30-40 minutes a day to exercise. A brisk walk or other activities such as dancing or training circuits to be carried out at home are certainly useful. During work, it can also be helpful to wear graduated socks and, every 40-60 minutes, do some lifting on tiptoes or, while seated, stretch the legs forward and rotate the ankles. Those who work from home can take a two-minute break every hour to perform a very simple exercise, lying on their stomach and resting their legs vertically against a wall.

If the swelling in the lower limbs is particularly pronounced, the situation can be improved by keeping the legs raised during the night's rest, by placing a pillow between the mattress and the mattress cover at the foot of the bed. The showers are also excellent, alternating jets of hot and cold water directing the jet on the legs starting from the ankles and going up towards the buttocks. You can then resort to do-it-yourself draining massages or – even better – performed in a beauty center, using essential oils of sweet orange, lemon and juniper diluted in vegetable oil. Finally, pay attention to nutrition and excess salt: eating fruit and vegetables, staying well hydrated and limiting salt are of great help to avoid stagnation of liquids.

Natural remedies

Natural remedies against water retention aim to improve the tone of blood vessels, promote circulation, drain excess fluids and reduce any inflammation. To promote microcirculation, ivy, centella asiatica, butcher's broom are used. These remedies can be associated with red fruits, such as blueberries and raspberries, rich in flavonoids that exert beneficial effects on circulation and inflammatory states.

Diuresis, on the other hand, can be stimulated by taking herbal teas based on horsetail, ortosiphon, birch, juniper and pilosella. For this purpose, ash can also be very useful, which combines its diuretic and anti-inflammatory action with the ability to improve the elimination of sodium.

Category: Welfare
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