I think is to safe to say that every women experiences water retention from time to time, however there are some women who retain water more regularly than most and that can go for some men as well.

People who retain fluid can easily notice a weight change within a single day. "Weight fluctuations of as much as four to five pounds in a single day are not uncommon in women with fluid retention problems," says Marilynn Pratt, M.D., a physician who specializes in women's health.

Water retention and "bloating" occurs when fluid that normally flows through the body in blood vessels, lymph ducts and tissues gets trapped in the tissues interstitial spaces, the tiny channels between cells. The fluid flow is controlled by electrolytes such as sodium. When you take in high levels of sodium there is a greater attraction of fluid to these cells. When this happens the cells become over hydrated. This occurs more readily in women, because their tissues are designed to fluctuate or expand for pregnancy.

Salt intake is one of the causes of water retention, but there are other causes as well. For example, allergic reactions to foods, heart and kidney problems and prescription drugs such as hormones. In women, hormonal changes often cause bloating beginning seven to ten days prior to menstruation, as levels of estrogen and progesterone increase, causing the body to retain salt (sodium) and therefore to retain fluid in tissues.

Although water retention is uncomfortable it is not usually health threatening. However, if you have concerns, because you feel your water retention is above normal, then you should seek the advice of a medical doctor, since it could be a symptom to other health issues.

The following are some ways to help eliminate water retention.

Drink more water. Fluid retention is caused by excess salt intake. If you cut back on salt and drink plenty of water. This will help to flush out the excess. Also, if you become dehydrated, your body will preserve salt that is already in the body.

Try Dandelion leaf. Dandelion is a diuretic and is also a rich source of potassium. The loss of potassium can have an impact on a range of bodily functions one being electrolyte balance.

Lose weight if you need to. Overweight women have more estrogen in their systems because fat tissue produces estrogen. Overweight women should drink lots of water and should drastically reduce their salt intake.

Watch out for MSG. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, also contains sodium. MSG is found in processed foods and often in Chinese food. Be sure to ask them to prepare yours without MSG.

Exercise. Exercise increases blood flow and improves the overall function of the body, just be sure that you do not allow yourself to become dehydrated.

At certain times water weight will just happen, but if you are prone to it more regularly than most, then try these simple steps, and remember if still have concerns, consult your doctor.


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  This article is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical advice if you have any concern about your health or physical condition, and you should always consult your physician before following the recommendations presented here.  

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© Melt Magazine 2004