Everything You Need to Know About Water Retention


Water retention which is also known as fluid retention is an excessive build-up of water in any part of the body such as body tissues, the circulatory system or any cavity in the body. Take note that the human body consists of about 70% water in which it is located both inside and outside the cells of the body. Blood, muscles and organs are also made up mostly of water. A complicated system of hormones and prostaglandins or hormone-like substances is what regulates the human body’s water levels. Thus, excess water intake results in the excretion of the excess water and the lack of fluid intake results to less urination than normal.

More Details on Water Retention

The medical term for water retention is edema. This is a condition which is a result of water leaking from the blood into body tissues. Normally, the fluid which is drained from body tissues by the lymphatic system puts it back into the bloodstream. When the fluid is not removed properly by the lymph system, water retention problems occur. The water is then retained in body tissues causing swelling or edema. This commonly occurs in the feet and legs but can aslo occur in other parts of the body.

Causes of Water Retention

There are many causes of water retention. Here are the most common causes.

Gaining Weight

The most common cause of water retention related to weight is high sodium intake. Processed foods contain a high amount of sodium so a diet high in these foods can result to water retention. Dieting often results to weight fluctuations connected to water retention. Some people try diuretics which can lead to fast weight loss. However, the weight lost is only due to water loss which will usually return after a day or two.


Menopausal women usually experience water retention because of hormonal imbalances, fluctuating hormone levels and the decrease in progesterone level. If the weight gain is excessive, consulting a health care professional is advisable since this can be a sign of a more serious condition.


It is still not completely clear why high blood pressure occurs but genetics plays a big part of the picture. Conditions related to hypertension include diabetic nephropathy, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, obesity and Cushing’s syndrome. Most of these conditions are connected to water retention so it is important to get a proper diagnosis in order to determine the best way to control blood pressure and fluid levels.

Thyroid Problems

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause water retention. Hypothyroidism is the insufficient production of thyroid hormones while hyperthyroidism is the exact opposite or the overproduction of thyroid hormones.

Kidney Disease or Infection

The kidneys are vital in many bodily functions like the removal of toxins through urination and the balancing of fluid levels in the body. When the kidneys are not functioning properly due to disease or infection, water retention may occur.