Water retention causes is a common condition that occurs as a result of excess fluid buildup inside the body's cavities and in between the tissues. The condition, which is known medically as edema, is characterized by symptoms such as bloating, sluggishness, puffiness, weight gain and swollen legs, knees and ankles. It is particularly common in the legs and the feet. Various symptoms are linked to water retention.
- Excessive consumption of sodium can lead to water retention. If you consume too many salty foods, you run the risk of developing water retention. Salt increases thirst, and thus forces the body to collect as much water as it can. Eating too many carbohydrates (such as bread and rice) can also lead to the condition.
- Remaining in a sedentary position can bring upon water retention. If you stay in the same exact position for an extended period of time (such as behind a desk at work or on a long plane ride), you could develop water retention.
- Women that are pregnant often experience water retention. This situation can occur due to an increased fluid volume traveling throughout the body. In general, pregnant bodies also collect higher amounts of fluid. Many women also experience water retention as a premenstrual syndrome.
- Several types of medicines can also cause water retention. Various different medication types are often linked to edema, including NSAIDs (nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs), calcium channel blockers, steroids, estrogens and vasodilators. Thiazolidinediones, which are used for the treatment and management of diabetes, also are associated with water retention.
- In serious instances, congestive heart failure can bring upon water retention. Hearts that are not functioning properly are unable to pump blood effectively, which can lead to blood collecting in the feet, ankles and legs.
- Serious cases of liver disease, known as cirrhosis, can also trigger edema. The disease decreases albumin and blood protein levels. When fluid seeps into the lower stomach area, water retention within the legs is a possibility.
- Allergic reactions can cause water retention. When the body is exposed to an allergen, blood vessels that are close cause leakage of the section that is affected.
- People with varicose veins also could experience retention of water. Varicose veins are twisted and swollen, and are enlarged due to unusually high amounts of blood.
- Women who are taking birth control pills also run the possibility of having water retention.
- Diets that are particularly low in calories also can cause the condition. Low calorie diets can trigger edema because they could bring about insufficient blood protein levels, which would not be enough for extracting excess water out of the body's tissues.
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