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Water retention

There are numerous causes of water retention in women. Some of them are connected to dietary regimes and others are actually a consequence of certain medical conditions. It is well known that women tend to retain water during premenenstrual syndrome. Additionally, the diet rich in salt can be significant contributor to water retention not only in women but also in men. The problem of water retention can be solved only after the exact cause has been established.

Diseases and Water Retention

Certain heart and kidney conditions cause water retention. It occurs in chronic heart and kidney failure. The patient develops edema of the extremities, especially legs.

In some women poor circulation in the veins of legs leads to accumulation of the fluid and consequent swelling. Pregnant women and those who are suffering from varicose veins are more prone to water retention and swelling of the legs and ankles.

And finally, retention of water can be caused by insufficient drainage of the lymph. If lymph drainage of the legs is not adequate the woman eventually develops lymphedema. This condition particularly affects women who have undergone surgical removal of the inguinal lymph nodes mostly due to carcinoma of reproductive organs. Lymphedema can also affect bed ridden patients and those who are in wheelchairs.


Intake of too much salt results in increased water retention. Namely, absorption of water is increased in the presence of excessive amounts of sodium. Salty food increases intake of water because people are thirsty and this water is consequently retained in the body.

Hormones and Medications

Water retention can be also induced by certain hormones. Insulin is only one hormone which can lead to excessive amount of water in the body. Apart from insulin cortisone can also increase the amount of water and reduce its elimination. In women estrogen and progesterone regulate the amount of water in the body and can also lead to its retention.

Some medications can indirectly lead to water retention since they increase the level of hormones which can increase the amount of water in the body. They include birth control pills and some painkillers.


Certain toxins that are ingested such as pesticides accumulate in specific form of fat called cellulite. Water retention can be in this case explained by irritation of this fat by accumulated toxins. On the other hand, the body may try to dilute the accumulated toxins and this can be another explanation of water retention.


Obese people are prone to water retention. Even if they try to lose weight they can accumulate water. This can be a cause of low-fat diets. Namely, in low fat diets a person may not eat sufficient amount of proteins, their presence in the blood is decreased and the result of hypoproteinemia is water retention and edemas.


Histamine is a chemical compound which can also cause water retention. It influences capillaries to widen and this leads to excessive leak of proteins and water. Accumulation of proteins and water results in swelling.

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