Fluid Retention in the Legs

Author: Henrik Aulbach



Lesezeit: 2 min

Fluid Retention in the Legs is becoming increasingly common. In medicine, this phenomenon is referred to as fluid retention, which manifests as effusions and edema in the legs. Excess fluid accumulates in the leg tissues due to gravity. We'll introduce causes and treatment options for fluid retention here.

Causes of Fluid Retention in the Legs

The causes of excess body fluid can be diverse. Often, fluid retention is the issue. In this condition, the body retains excess fluid in the leg tissues. The following factors contribute to fluid retention in the legs:

  • high salt consumption
  • lack of movement (of the legs)
  • hormonal fluid retention
  • use of medications

While fluid retention can be uncomfortable, it's generally not a serious condition on its own. However, it could be an indicator of an underlying serious condition, such as heart failure. In this case, the heart struggles to pump enough blood, leading to fluid accumulation. Here, medical treatment is necessary. Similarly, kidney problems and conditions like venous insufficiency (where veins struggle to handle blood flow back) or lymphatic issues can lead to increased fluid accumulation. Injuries, inflammations, and pregnancy can also cause fluid retention. Thus, consulting a doctor for edema is advisable.

Fluid Retention in the Legs: Symptoms

If you suspect edema, it's recommended to see a doctor. The following symptoms can indicate edema:

  • Swelling: Swelling occurs where water accumulates, often being tender and soft to the touch. 
  • Skin Changes: The skin might feel tight and soft, and sometimes it can change in color.
  • Indentation: Pressing the skin may leave a visible mark called pitting edema.
  • Heaviness: The legs often feel heavier and slower.
  • Pain: Pain might occur with larger fluid accumulations.
  • Stiffness: Excess fluid could limit your mobility.

Medical Diagnosis and Treatment of Edema

For edema, you should promptly consult a doctor. They will perform a medical history and physical examinations. Subsequently, laboratory tests and imaging techniques will be performed. Your doctor's primary goal is not only to identify the edema but also to determine organic causes such as heart failure. Further examinations like heart assessments or ultrasound scans may be conducted for this purpose.

Subsequent treatment depends on the cause. Diuretics are prescribed by doctors for edema, which are natural diuretic foods

Other treatment methods can include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Compression stockings
  • Treating underlying diseases
  • Medications

Getting Rid of Water Retention: Naturopathic Measures

Naturopathy offers several treatment methods for water retention in the legs. We have already written a separate article about diuretic foods or natural diuretics. These include foods and healing herbs like nettle tea or potassium-rich foods. In addition, naturopathy also employs the following approaches:

  • Lymphatic drainage massages: Massaging the lymph nodes or lymphatic system to encourage fluid exchange.
  • Contrast showers: Although the beneficial effects are not proven, contrast showers are still used for traditional reasons.
  • Salt reduction: Excess salt can interfere with the body's ability to regulate its fluid balance.

Preventing Water in the Feet and Legs

If you don't have edema in your legs yet, you can try implementing the following points. This will help your body prevent edema effectively. If you still notice water retention, please consult a doctor.

  • Consume less salt.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Have a fiber-rich diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Elevate your legs more often.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Limit alcohol and coffee consumption.

Water in the Legs: Frequently Asked Questions

Water in the Legs: What to Do?

If you notice water retention or edema in your legs, it's time for a medical visit. The primary objective is to rule out underlying conditions like kidney or heart failure causing fluid retention. Following that, your doctor can discuss treatment options, which can be complemented by natural remedies.

What to Do for Water in the Legs?

If you have water retention in your legs, first make sure no organic condition is responsible for it. If you are otherwise healthy apart from the edema, focus on increasing physical activity, drinking more water, and possibly consuming diuretic foods.

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