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How to Treat Fluid Retention

Four Methods:Physical SolutionsGetting Adequate WaterHerbal RemediesSensible Nutrition

Fluid retention occurs when the body cannot get rid of excess water. Fluid retention can occur for a variety of reasons, but most commonly it is caused by premenstrual syndrome in women, too much salt in your diet or as a side effect from medication. As a result of fluid retention, there may be some swelling of the body especially in the legs, ankles, hands, feet and abdomen. There are many natural ways of treating fluid retention by expelling excess water from the body and hydrating properly. Here are a few steps on how to treat fluid retention.

Method 1
Physical Solutions

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    Exercise often to release excess body fluid and increase circulation. Exercise can greatly help with fluid retention problems because the body will heat up and sweat out excess water, and better circulation will reduce and prevent fluid retention in the future.
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    Sleep with your feet elevated higher than your heart. Just place pillows under your legs to make them higher than your heart when you lie down.

Method 2
Getting Adequate Water

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    Drink plenty of water. If you are aware that your fluid retention is due to premenstrual syndrome, too much salt in your diet or other minor cause, added water will likely have a positive impact. You may feel that you have enough water in your body already, but being well hydrated will help you flush out excess water instead of storing it in your body.
    • There's no need to buy water. Treated tap water in most developed areas should be safe and adequate for your needs.

Method 3
Herbal Remedies

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    Consider using herbs as diuretics to release excess water and lessen the effects of fluid retention. There are many herbs that work as diuretics; among them are dandelion leaf, parsley, corn silk and hawthorn.
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    Take a ginkgo supplement or drink it in a tea. Ginkgo can help with circulation, so it may benefit you if you have water retention due to circulation problems.

Method 4
Sensible Nutrition

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    Eat foods with diuretic properties. There is a long list of diuretic foods and some of the more well-known foods include celery, lettuce, carrots, onion, asparagus, tomato and cucumber.
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    Consume daily vitamins that can aid in reducing fluid retention. You can either take vitamin capsules or get the vitamins by selecting food sources known to be high in the relevant vitamins. In particular, watch for:
    • Vitamin B6: This is known to reduce the effects of fluid retention, especially in mild cases such as fluid retention due to premenstrual syndrome. Large quantities of vitamin B6 can be found in foods such as red meat, salmon, tuna, bananas and brown rice.
    • Vitamin B5, vitamin B1 and vitamin D: These vitamins will reduce water retention. They can be found in foods such as fresh fruits and low-fat dairy.
    • Supplement minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium can help with water retention as well. These minerals are known to act as mild diuretics to help the body release excess water. Calcium is found in yogurt, milk and dark leafy greens like spinach. Potassium helps the body to get rid of excess fluid in the body, but also stabilizes the amount of sodium within the body. Potassium is found in fruit such as citrus and melons.
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    Lessen your intake of salt and salty foods. Too much salt in the body can cause fluid retention to worsen. Many processed foods contain high values of sodium that should also be avoided, so check the nutritional information on products you eat to make sure that they do not contain high levels of sodium. Avoid adding additional table salt to your food, and stay away from salty snacks like chips, peanuts and pretzels.
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    Avoid drinks that will dehydrate the body such as tea, coffee and alcohol. Although caffeine and alcohol is a diuretic, consuming it will only dehydrate you and worsen fluid retention.
    • Switch to fruit and herbal tea and coffee varieties, such as peppermint tea, lemon tea and dandelion coffee.
    • In place of alcohol, try non-alcoholic counterparts, such as non-alcoholic beer or non-alcoholic ciders.


  • Dehydration can cause fluid retention because when the body is dehydrated it holds onto water instead of allowing the body to dispel it. In order for the body to process fluid correctly, it must be properly and consistently hydrated. The body will then use the fluid that is necessary to keep it hydrated, and dispel excess fluid instead of holding onto it, causing fluid retention.
  • If you believe fluid retention may be the cause of dehydration you may be experiencing thirst, lack of urination, weakness, dizziness, cramping, headaches and dry mouth.
  • Don't sit for long periods .


  • Do not consume large amounts of water to treat fluid retention if you have chronic liver problems. Consult your doctor if you have liver problems, or believe you may have liver problems and are experiencing fluid retention in your abdomen or other parts of the body. Water consumption can have a negative effect on organs trying to process excess fluid in the body already.
  • Do not take any new supplements before consulting your doctor, especially if you are currently taking any medication.
  • Be careful when consuming herbs to treat water retention. Many herbs are not regulated and can have negative effects on the body if consumed in excess. Consult a physician for the best method to relieve fluid retention in your body.
  • Consult your physician before taking herbal supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Diuretic vegetables
  • Multivitamins
  • Mineral supplements
  • Diuretic herbs
  • Daily exercise

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