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6 Common symptoms of excessive water retention & what you can do about it!

May 29, 2017

Water retention commonly called as fluid retention or edema is when there is an excessive build-up of fluid in the circulatory system or tissues in the body. Water retention can be experienced by pregnant women, people who are physically inactive or when you sit for extended periods of time.

In most cases, it is nothing to worry about, but in some cases, it might be a sign of a kidney disease or a heart failure. It is best to consult with your doctor to rule out any problems. Check out 6 symptoms of excessive water retention and what you can do about it.

1) Weight gain

One of the common signs of water retention is weight gain. When you see the numbers on the weighing scale go up rapidly, it could be because of water retention. The extra kilos could be because of all the extra water in your body. This can make you feel puffy and make you clothes feel snug. 

One of the remedies of water retention is to follow a low-salt diet. Try to limit your salt consumption to 2,300 milligrams per day. Avoid processed food, meat, and packaged food as they are high in salt content.

2) Trouble breathing

Water retention or edema causes swelling of the tissues, and this can affect the tissues in your lungs as well. Your lungs will swell up with the extra fluid and make it difficult for you to breathe, make your voice sound hoarse, cause wheezing and coughing.

You can check with your doctor, and he may recommend a diuretic or a water pill, which will help your body get rid of the extra sodium and fluid by passing urine.

3) Discoloration of skin or skin abnormalities

Water retention can affect the blood flow in your body as well. Some areas of your body can have increases blood flow and this can cause those areas to become flushed. In spots where the blood flow isn’t strong, you’ll notice abnormal pale spots. 

In certain cases, your skin may hold an indentation when you press on it or your skin will be swollen and won’t budge when you press on it. Magnesium supplements (200 to 400mg) are recommended for people suffering from water retention. Please check with your doctor before you start these supplements because you shouldn’t be having them if you have a kidney or a heart condition. 

4) Increased pulse

Another not so obvious sign of water retention is your heart pounding rapidly and your pulse rate shooting up. This happens because the arms and legs swell up due to water retention and this makes it difficult for the blood to circulate. The heart must pump harder and faster so that blood can reach your limbs.  This can cause heart and vessel damage in the long run.

Try wearing compression stockings available at pharmacies. These stockings gently squeeze your lower legs and aid blood circulation in your body.

5) Muscle and joint pain

As mentioned above, water retention can cause weight gain, which in turn puts a lot of stress on your joints. Also, the fluid retention can affect your muscle functions, and you can find it difficult to walk, have tender limbs and experience stiff joints. It can also cause weakness and pain all over your body. 

Don’t sit or stand in a place for too long as this can increase the pain. Walk every half an hour and flex your legs and ankles for relief. You can try swimming as well because it’s safe on the joints and is a great workout.

6) Swollen legs, feet, and ankles

This is a very common symptom where your legs, feet, and ankles swell up due to fluid retention. Fluid retention can be treated by propping your legs up in an elevated position. This will decrease swelling. You can also lie on the floor with your feet raised and pressed against the wall.


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