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Reasons Why You Might Be Retaining Water

Updated on April 4, 2011

There are a huge number of reasons why people retain water. It is often easiest to get rid of the problem if you have a basic understanding of why it happens in the first place. In most cases, getting rid of water weight and the symptoms that it causes can be done easily and without a lot of trouble. Some small changes can be used to make all the difference in the world.

Retaining Water Due to Medical Issues

It is important to start with the real possibility that something is wrong. Very few cases of water retention are due to medical conditions, but because this is the most serious you should talk to your doctor if you are retaining water.

Several prescription medications also cause you to retain water and become bloated feeling or swollen. You will want to check your medications and if it is really uncomfortable then you may want to talk to your doctor about trying something different.

Retaining Water Due to Habits and Lifestyle Choices

The biggest reason that people retain water is because of their habits and lifestyle choices. While it isn't easy to change these things, there are things that you can do!

  • Water, Water, Everywhere. Many people think that if they are retaining fluids and they drink more water it will only get worse. However, dehydration is a common reason for retaining water.
  • Drinks That Encourage Dehydration. Most people know that drinking a lot of coffee or alcohol makes them have to go to the bathroom more, however do you know that this is because these beverages are diuretics and that they cause dehydration? All beverages with caffeine and those with alcohol cause you to lose water as well as important nutrients and can cause you to retain water.
  • The Evil S's. Two elements of our daily diets can really do a number on your ability to release water as you should. Putting it simply, most people eat too much salt and too much sugar.
  • Not Enough Nutrients. Your body needs potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, amino acids, and high quality protein. Not getting enough of these things can cause you to retain fluids.
  • The Sit It Down Lifestyle. Many people have a lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting down. From jobs to recreations that doesn't require a whole lot of movement, people find themselves sitting more and more. Without a whole lot of movement water also has the opportunity to sit it out and it pools in the hands and the feet.
  • I Am So Stressed! With so much to do and the feeling of being busy most of the time it is no wonder that you are stressed. However, stress can lead to additional pooling of waters and of keeping waters in the body.
  • Toxins. You come into contact with a lot of toxins in your life. Your food is grown with them, you use them in skin care, and you clean with them. They can accumulate in the fats of your body and that can lead to water being stored there as well.
  • Weight Loss. Many people have heard that losing weight can cause you to gain water weight. This isn't just something said because new people feel bad for gaining weight after they have lost. Instead it's true. It's part of the body's defense. The body doesn't realize that you need to lose weight. Instead they see it as you starving and in life's peril. The body then stores water to save your life. While it isn't likely that this is something you want, it is something you can get over. You will want to make sure that you are working toward getting rid of the water weight and that you continue with good habits. If you continue with good habits you will get rid of the water weight as well as additional weight that you are working toward getting off.
  • Hormonal Imbalances. Perhaps one of the largest complained about water weight experiences are those of hormonal imbalances. These include pregnancy, PMS, and menopause. In many cases you will continue to retain water during these periods even when you try to avoid it. However, you can reduce how much you retain by eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and also exercising.

People retain water for a wide variety of ways. However, the best thing that you can do to keep it away and to keep it off is to live a healthy lifestyle. The foods you eat, the drinks you drink, and even how much you get up and move around all effect your body's water balances. Check out How to Get Rid of Water Weight for the low down on just what you should and should not be doing to keep fluids off.


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    Elena@LessIsHealthy 7 years ago

    I know how hard it is, I am retaining water, but my exercises are helping daily.

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    Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I knew too much salt could cause you to retain water but I had no idea that sugar would do the same. Great information - you learn something new everyday.