Water Retention Facts And Answers

linda photo2 254x300 150x150 Water Retention Facts And AnswersHere you can find answers about water retention, its symptoms, causes, remedies and treatments. The site author is Linda Lazarides, an international expert on water retention, and author of the best-selling book The Waterfall Diet. Linda has helped hundreds of people referred to her by doctors. Her eight books have helped thousands more.

Water retention is also known as oedema or edema. It can occur in any part of the body, or simply all over the body. Different pages of this site deal with swollen ankles, legs and feet, bloating, water weight and remedies. If you need more information, you can also read one of Linda’s books. Knowledge is the key to understanding how to get rid of water retention.

swollen ankles 300x225 Water Retention Facts And Answers

Water Retention Site Index

Water retention can be simply defined as swelling in the body’s tissues, caused by fluid collecting there instead of returning to the blood circulation. This problem has many different causes.

If you have a problem such as swollen legs, premenstrual water retention, puffy ankles, feet, hands or face, you will find explanations here. You will also find out when it is necessary to take water pills (diuretics) or whether these pills will do more harm than good for your particular type of water retention, even if they are natural supplements.

If you have a particular question you would like answered, you can always leave a comment in the boxes provided, and Linda will try to answer when she has time.

Am I retaining water?

Visit this page upload your water retention photo, and tell us your story.

Personal help is also available in the form of online consultations, but if you have little money to spare Linda recommends that you first follow the advice in her books. The Waterfall Diet book is very comprehensive, and can be purchased from Amazon websites, but if you prefer something  shorter and more succinct, you can download Linda’s E-guide straight away, entitled Low Carb Dieting and the Waterfall Diet. This E-guide was written for people wanting to lose both body fat and water retention in the form of water weight, but you do not have to restrict yourself to low-carb foods.

You can get rid of water retention

Screenshot 2015 09 06 16.25.02 Water Retention Facts And AnswersThis unsolicited testimonial was sent to me by Carolyn Burris, who lives in California. You can read her whole story and many others on the Sucess Stories page.

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Wishing you good health

LL sig font Water Retention Facts And Answers



  1. Tiffany says:

    I have severe Asthma requring 30 plus intibations over the course of 15 yrs, I’ve been off steroids for 16 weeks now but I still am very swollen, even after being on a diuretic for 60 days. My oxygen stays around 70 % when I sleep and Dr. thinks this has a lot to due with why I’m retaining so much fluids. What do you think.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Tiffany, it is a sad fact that most doctors don’t really have the answers to these questions. Your doctor may just be guessing. What really needs to be done in your case is to get to the causes of your asthma. If you are in the U.S. you should be able to find a naturopathic doctor nearby. They are very good with this kind of problem.

  2. Since my hysterectomy about six years ago, I have put on over 25kgs. Weight had never been an issue for me prior to this. I am now 45. No matter how little/well I eat and how much I exercise I cannot drop the weight. I always feel bloated and puffy, by night time it is even worse. I am often constipated.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Fiona there are some case reports in my book which are similar to yours. Hopefully you have found the book as it contains questionnaires that may help you to identify what is possibly causing your water retention. Water retention does not have the same cause in everyone.

  3. I am on HCTC try to drink water but still not enough and right now I can’t even see my ankles, my feet and ankles look really swollen, what should do?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Cheryl, unfortunately the causes are different in everyone, so no-one can advise you without spending quite a lot of time with you going through all the options. Once you have spent some time studying this site you will have a better idea of what might be causing your water retention.

  4. within a 2 week period my husband gained 60 lbs. his legs, feet & private parts are swollen, painful messes. he has a dry cough, exhausted all the time & has been tested & hospitalized. he was dehydrated, his kidneys were shutting down, but have recovered. he now is having his bladder tested to see if it is working properly. we may be facing prostate surgery. all this with a 2 week period. a man who played golf 3 times a week & swam 50 laps a week is now too week to walk without a walker.

  5. Hi I have been putting on weight for some time, when I first noticed I woke up and my armpits puffed out over night and have never gone back down. my legs and feet blow up and my tummy is larger then I was when I was pregnant. I have always eaten well but felt I needed to do more, I cut out sugar went to skimmed milk and eaten tones of salad this year with no dressings and yet the weight is still piling on . I am at my wits end now . is this water retention and that kind is it as its all over my body and my skin is dehydrated too please help.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Joanne this certainly sounds like it might be water retention, but you should also consult your doctor in case there is a hormonal condition or other explanation. Water weight does not respond to a normal low-calorie diet, but neither does weight gain caused by hormonal conditions like an underactive thyroid, so you should get this checked.

  6. I seem to be having real issues with weight and water, over the past year I have gained about 16lb, I try eating very healthily and slowly I loose a couple of pounds (it took me 3 weeks to loose 5) but one weekend of relaxing but not going over 2000 calories and the 5lb us back??? How can I put 5lb of weight on in 1 weekend. This makes me think that all I loose and gain on the scales is fluid! I have noticed I often weigh heavier in the morning rather that the usual lighter plus I have an under active thyroid which I am on treatment for and all blood results are showing as normal.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Alex, it is not possible to pt on 5 lbs of fat in two days, so this does sound like water retention. To overcome this condition you need to find out as much as you can about it and this website will help you.

  7. I exercise intensely for an hour or more a day. A few weeks ago, a blood test showed low kidney function. The doctor and I realised it was the increased amount of water I had been drinking. Now the past few days I have gained about four kilograms, and when I press my fingers into my legs, it dimples and the dimples stay there for over ten seconds. I know its fluid retention. Should I go back to the doctor and have my kidney function checked again, or is there another answer? My diet is healthy and I don’t eat any sugars other thank in fresh fruit.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Sarah, water does not cause low kidney function, though if your kidneys are already under-functioning, drinking increased fluid can start to cause swelling. Eating healthy is always good, but you may need to carry out the self-tests in the Waterfall Diet book to help you pinpoint any foods which you think are healthy but which may be causing you to retain water. These foods vary from person to person.

  8. hello linda. I have water retention on both hands for more than two months now. I have seen my primary care physician and he thought I have peripheral neuropathy. so he refer me to a physical medicine dr. physical medicine dr. tested my nerves and he said they are fine. I have a carpal tunnel syndrome but does not need immediate surgery . my main problem right now is that my hands hurts so bad and part of my fingers will turn white and afterwards turn purple. what do you think is my problem.thank you nida .

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Nida, have you looked at what you eat? Have you read the nutrition advice on this site? Carpal tunnel syndrome happen when the nerves are irritated from repetitive movements like typing but nutritional deficiencies can make it much worse. If you eat a lot of sweet or deep-fried food, sweet drinks or alcohol, you can get vitamin and mineral deficiencies that affect your nervous system and cause water retention.

  9. In a matter of a month i went from 12st to just over 20 stone i look very puffy and fluid started on the end of my legs that caused ulcers.now alot of fluid is leaking through my inner thighs and both bum cheeks an groin and under my breasts my skins raw from this my clothes do be soaked whats this please.vicky

  10. Recently i fractured 3 discs and have lower back spasms,and i have fibromyalgia for a long time i cannot move about sitting,standing too long is very painful. Now my legs from my thighs down to my ankles are swollen and painful. what could it be?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Ann, immobility does tend to cause water retention, as the lymphatic system cannot drain fluid away when you are lying or sitting still. It is the same problem that people get when they have to sit still for hours on long-distance flights. Try to at least wiggle your ankles and toes if you can. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be treated by diet, and many people have found my waterfall diet book helpful for this. You will find details of how to get it on this website.

  11. I have been in recovery from anorexia for 11 months now. Although fluid retention was always an issue, recently it has become simply ridiculous. I cannot get rid of it day or night. Whatever I drink stays with me. I am weight-restored however my weight has gone up in a large leap and most of this is believed by my nutritionist to be water retention. My diet is 2000 calories of good food, i.e. fruits vegetables oats milk lean protein etc. I have very very few preservatives and little salt. I do 1 hour of walking at 4mph a day and a dance class 4 times a week. I am just 18 so this should be enough to produce good muscle tone however all I have is a massive ball in my stomach, puffy ankles and eyes and at the top of my thighs, also saggy knees. Is it also possible for water retention to have a very soft appearance on top of a hard ball?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Amy, first of all, well done for getting weight-restored. That is a fantastic achievement. It looks like your digestion and metabolism have been affected by your past poor nutrition. I am not allowed to attempt any diagnosis as I have never met you, but you may find some clues in my waterfall diet book. It is not a calorie-controlled diet, it is just a test to identify causes of water retention. In particular I find that recovering anorexics seem to need cod liver oil, and you may benefit from taking bromelain supplements with your meals to help restore your ability to digest protein.

  12. I am 18 years old, Over the past 3 years I went from 90 kg to 57kg, it wasn’t all healthy if I must admit (struggled with some bulimia along with extreme exercising) and since about 19 months ago My period stopped completely, I thought it was because of my weight loss but then, A few months ago my weight went up really fast from 57 kg to fluctuating from 65 and above DAILY FLUCTUATIONS ! , i exercise and I try not to eat more than 1300 calories per day, I jumped from Doctor to doctor I did almost all hormonal tests and they all turned out pretty fine except for progesterone I guess, until one doctor told me that I might have a cyst and she gave me a hormonal injection that yet haven’t done anything. Could this be water retention or is it fat and I’ll have to start my weight loss journey all over again? If one thing I must admit to be doing wrong is that I am addicted to sugar-free gum and WAS severely addicted to diet soda (but I am recovering now).

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Mariam, water retention is very common in anorexia and bulimia, due to severe protein deficiency. You are right to be wary of the health effects of large amounts of artificial sweeteners so it is good that you are cutting down on these.

  13. I’m not sure why but I am gaining weight. I do feel like there’s a lot of water rentention. I’ve always had a nice shape but lately I feel extremely bloated, hungry all the time, I know I need to drink more water, and I’m getting cellulite too. I’ve read that cellulite can occur when you have to much water in your system too. Do you know what I can do about this? I just want to look and feel like me again?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Yes, it is true that cellulite can be a form of water retention, where water gets trapped with fatty tissue. Bloating can be a sign that your digestive system is inflamed. There are numerous possible causes.

  14. hi over the last few or more months I have been retaining a lot of water it is just a constant thing now..every morning I wake up with my eyes so swollen that my eyes hurt all day long..i drink a lot f water to try and make it come out but most of the time it doesn’t even matter I still wake up swollen! why is this???

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Nic, I can’t answer this without doing a thorough health and diet assessment of you. If it was a simple matter, your doctor would be able to help you, but usually it is not. The best thing is for you to study this website, especially the healthy eating information. Alternatively you could consult a naturopath.

  15. I am feeling very bloated and swollen all the time I have gained quite a lot of weight in a short space of time I am having difficulty passing urine. although I drink a lot of fluids.I have been diagnosed with stage three kidney disease.

  16. I have always thought my feet being swollen but about three months ago my legs started to hurt. I have not been able to stop drinking my mouth always feels dry and lips chapped. I am using the restroom thee to five times a day. I also have type 2 diabetes. I am wondering what are the odds that kidneys are the cause of the water retention?

  17. I had 3-5 pounds of swelling so doc. put me on lasix and stayed on it for 1 year; it helped for many months. Then, I started to swell up again so doc. took me off. In a few days, I swelled up 12 lbs. which was far worse than when I started lasix. I stayed off for 2 months and the edema would not come off. Docs. did tests and rules out hesrt/kidney issues and couldn’t figure it out so they put me back on lasix. Not only did it NOT help take off any of the edema, but when I stopped in 4 day, I swelled up another 5 pounds more. Stayed off again 8 weeks, tried lasix again and same thing as it was no help and once I stopped, swelled up anothe 2 pounds. I am so frustrated and after being off of lasix for so long, not 1 pound would come off and only going back on made it worse. Docs. can’t help me.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Dawn it is very frustrating for you, but you should be aware that in cases like this water pills only make water retention worse in the long term. Sadly, doctors do not have any other treatments to offer for idiopathic edema (edema of unknown cause). It is time to learn about your own metabolism and what causes water retention so that you can start to fix what is wrong with your diet that might be causing your problems.

  18. Stergios says:

    Hello Ms. Lazarides. I am a 42yo male with a history of ulcerative colitis since I was 20yo. I am currently in remission, but due to drug allergies, exacerbations can be controlled only by cortizone over long periods of time. I always put a lot of weight with cortizone. I was 200lbs when I started treatment and bloated up to 260lbs, while being on a strict diet (no salt). What bothers me is that the extra weight, which is definitely not due to overeating, does not seem to go away even if it is over 1 1/2 year that I have completely stopped cortizone treatment. Everyday my ankles are swollen, and even the softest of socks will leave marks on my calves. My heart function is normal and my hormone levels (cortizol, thyroid, blood sugar) are normal too. I think I could benefit from the Waterfall Diet.

  19. kwaku sarfo says:

    my right leg got swollen about a week ago. it start from knee and later my right toe started swelling.

  20. I am a 43 year old male and I retain a lot of water. Mainly in my upper stomach. It makes me look like I am pregnant. I do not urinate very often. I take water pills to help it. My wife is worried that I have kidney disease. I do not have lower back pain or some of the other symptoms of kidney disease. I feel it is because I do not drink much water because it really only gets bad when I drink or eat a lot of salty food. Please help.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Robbie you need to get checked by a doctor. If salty food makes you worse, avoid it. Read the health advice on this site. If you are diagnosed with idiopathic water retention you need to read the waterfall diet book.

  21. Linda, thank you Much for your Advice, can psychiatry Medication May you retain water ? and who is the dr.that you have to see to check your hormones and thyroid

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Candy, there are several types of medication that can cause water retention. If you are on psychiatric medication is is especially important to avoid junk food. So many mental health problems are caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

  22. I gained 20lbs almost overnight. I contracted HSV2 which caused meningitis. I literally gained 20lbs in a couple of days. I went from 120 to 142. I thought that was once I took medication and my body recovered from meningitis that I would drop the water weight. Unfortunately, that did not happen and I actually kept gaining. I have always been skinny, and there is no obesity in my family. I’ve always eaten healthy and exercised. After getting sick and swelling, I’ve cut my calories down to 700 a day in order to manage my weight. I limit my water and salt intake. There is always a direct correlation between my swelling and lack of urination. I actually have gone a couple of days without urinating. I have been prescribed 3 different types of diuretics, but they don’t seem to work. I have been thoroughly checked out by a urologist, nephrologist, and cardiologist. My heart, kidneys, lungs, and bladder are healthy. I’ve seen numerous doctors for almost two years trying to figure out why I am swelling…not to mention the thousands of dollars I’ve spent. I’m really at my breaking point. I’m huge and embarrassed to go in public. The swelling causes me extreme fatigue and pain in my legs to the point that I can no longer work. Whenever I have a herpes outbreak, I swell more. I have also experienced this with other illnesses. I want my life back! Help!

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Helen, you have come to the right place to hopefully make some progress with your water retention. But the waterfall diet book can’t help you unless you read it so hopefully you will do that soon.

  23. I have been under considerable amount of stress over the last 4 weeks. 4 days ago I noticed that my feet were slightly swollen which got better as the day went on. Then for the last three days I have woken up with swollen hands, feet, ankles and calves. I lead an active lifestyle exercising 5 days a week and eat a clean diet with the exception of the last 4 weeks when meals have been irregular and include more fast food than typical. Could the water retention be caused by stress? This is something I can’t remove from my life as it is a medical problem that has occurred with one of my immediate family members. Are there any options to relieve the water retention while maintaining the stress level that I have? or any foods that naturally help rid the body of excess water buildup?

  24. Linda, I started retaining water in my legs about 7 months ago. I have been to a kidney specialist and they M R I of my kidneys and found nothing wrong and told me they didn’t need to see me again. I went to my primary doctor and told her about it and she put me on a water pill once a day. My legs continue to stay swollen along with my hands and stomach. I don’t have any problem going to the bathroom. I feel I eat a pretty healthy diet. Love my veggies and fruit.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Mary, when you read my book on water retention, what chapters did you feel applied to you? This is how you can do your own investigation of your problem.

  25. I had the lap band procedure done. I lost a lot of weight. I was done to 98 pounds. The doctor opened my band a little bit so I could put on a little weight. I still did not eat much. I ballooned 35 lbs. in one week, and by 10 days I was up 50 lbs. I was put on the Lasix and that helped a little. I have gone under many studies and blood work and everything comes back normal. My doctor has no clue what is wrong with me. I keep retaining water and still gaining weigh. It is now 8 months since this started and I am up 90 lbs. and still gaining. Any ideas?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Josie, unfortunately Lasix is not a long-term solution. Have you carried out the self-tests described in the waterfall diet book? This will tell you if you are eating something or taking a medication that may be causing your water retention. You also need to read the health advice on this site.

  26. Jennifer says:

    I am 29 with a low hemoglobin. I have been getting blood transfusions every three weeks for the past year and half. When I started transfusions I gained 15 pounds within 2 months and my urine output decreased significantly. my kidney function is optimal and my hormone tests come back normal. I work out every day, sometimes twice a day, and eat a very healthy diet of lots of vegetables, lean protein, fruit, and whole grains and I have cut out a lot of sugar and processed foods, but my weight won’t budge. The weight seems to be in my thighs, abdomen, and a little in my ankles and face. Is your book helpful for this kind of situation?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      It’s hard to know why the transfusions have had this effect. Possibly you are sensitive to something added to the transfusion fluid. Or it may be a coincidence and unrelated to the transfusions. My book may give you some clues and ideas to try out on an experimental basis.

  27. I have been suffering from chronic diarrhea that comes and goes. It started with a food-borne illness several years ago. My doctor calls it IBS. Recently, it was particularly bad… just watery stools several times a day. No blood, no pain or feelings of sickness. I had to take at trip out of state and so I took Imodium for a few days so that I wouldn’t have to worry so much about where the next bathroom would be. I took it for 6 days, and at the end of the last day, I noticed my feet and ankles retaining water. I stopped taking it 3 days ago, and the symptoms have not subsided. Can you give me any advice or encouragement?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      I haven’t heard of imodium causing water retention, though it is possible that you are sensitive to an ingredient in the product. I would suggest that you read as much about its ingredients and their potential effects as you can, and you may find a clue. The diarrhoea may also play a part in this. It is hard to tell without working with you over a period of 2-3 months.

  28. my daughter is 22 weeks pregnant . she is over weight , her feet are like balloons which we know is from the pregnancy. 4 years ago she had a c section along the scar she has formed a large pocket which the doctor said was water retentions. she complains that it hurts all the time. is there anything we should worry about. due to her doctors are not addressing this problem

  29. Why do I seem to retain more fluid as I age? I have high blood pressure and coronary heart disease; however both are under control, and I take medications for both. I seem to retain fluid mostly in my stomach and abdomen.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Mary, in my experience the causes of ill-health usually lie in what we eat. If you are not eating right, then you are more likely to develop high blood pressure and water retention. Medications unfortunately don’t cure. Your symptoms are a warning that even if you think your food is ok, your body doesn’t agree with you.

  30. Shannon says:

    In January 2014 my family & I went on vacation to Florida. While there my legs filled with fluid and I developed a rash. I sought medical attention and within a month the rash disappeared, however the fluid hasn’t. I have gone to my general doctor and we have gone off meds, on meds, changed my diet to no avail. My labs are all normal. I have recently been referred to a cardiac doctor and my heart is good, my labs are once again are normal and my high pressure is down to normal levels (I have had high blood pressure for 10 yrs) – despite having fluid on my legs/body and being on 3 dieretic medications. At the moment approximately 10% of the fluid remains (at one point I had approximately 30 lbs of fluid). I have remained physical active throughout the last 6 months due to my job, despite feeling awful. Do you have any suggestions on which direction we should go?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Shannon, I really feel for you – this must be so frustrating, but it is extremely good news that the water retention is gradually disappearing. I think that if you are really eating what is right for you, then you would not have a blood pressure problem at all, so you have some way to go as regards diet. If you were to consult me professionally I would put you on a one-week experimental diet to see how your body responds to it. This diet is outlined in my Kindle book ‘Water Retention Diet Made Easy’. It is highly targeted for water retention problems and because it aims to get results within just a week, it is pretty tough, but if you respond well to it, you will at least know that your problem can be helped by what you eat. Another thought is that the original rash and swelling may have been due to an infection which is still affecting your system. Perhaps consult a herbal medicine expert to see if there is something you can take that targets hidden parasites in your blood, for example.

  31. Christine says:


    I have been suffering with swollen ankles and legs for almost a year now. Doctor tried me on different water pills but nothing worked. I went for an EKG all is well with the heart. Can you give any advice as to why I’m retaining so much fluid.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Christine, there are at least seven different causes of idiopathic water retention (water retention of unknown cause). As I haven’t had the chance to assess your history and eating habits, I don’t know which of these causes might apply to you, but I have written books which help people to try to identify the causes themselves. See the rest of this site for more information. Wishing you all the best.

  32. HI Good day, I struggle from water retention and I notice it because of my rings that do not want to go on my fingers any more. I live an extremely healthy lifestyle, I exercise 6 days a week, eat lots of fruit & veggies and drink 2 -3 litres of water every day. I do however struggle a little bit with indigestion and I drink coffee twice per day. I don’t have any severe symptoms for kidney failure so I’m not entirely sure what’s the cause, oh, I’m also not on any medicine. I’s very frustrating for my and I don’t know what to do. ANy advice?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Lindy, one of the causes of indigestion is drinking too much liquid with meals. It is good to drink 2-3 litres of water a day, but don’t drown your food with it, as so many people do. Carry a bottle of water around with you and drink it throughout the day. If you are already eating a healthy diet, there are possibly some foods that you are sensitive to. My books can help you find your safe foods and also help you to increase the foods that help to prevent water retention. However only your doctor can tell you if your kidneys are under-functioning.

  33. I have water rentention in my lower back, my massage therapist said it will be due to stress and anxiety. This makes sense to me because I have had the water retention mostly since childbirth 4 years ago. My diet hasn’t been great, and I have exercised less than ever. I also have a hard lump inside the water retention, which is concerning me.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Alicia, massage is good for water retention but can only improve it if your lymphatic system is the cause. Please do take the nutrition advice given here. Any kind of abnormal hard lump needs to be checked out by a doctor.

  34. Randy Aho.Greetings.I have ben told by health professions,that the swelling in my lower leggs,is due to dehydration.Water retention.Two accupuncterists said its kidney problems.Two times while haveing a physical,I was told that my kidney function was normal.After the kidney test results were in.And one of the accupuncturists said another indicator of kidney problems,was cracks on my toung,top of the toung.Occording to chinese medicine.What do you think of this.? Randy

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Randy, dehydration is certainly notorious for causing water retention, as it makes the body hold on to water, but there are probably some other factors involved in your case. Oriental medicine is slightly different from western medicine, as it looks at the energy flow in organs rather than the organ’s ability to function. If the energy flow is not good, this could be an indicator that the organ in question may develop functional problems at some later stage. In the oriental system, cracks on the tongue reflect the state of energy in the body. Randy, please check out the page on this site which looks at the causes of swollen legs. You need to follow the nutritional advice given on this site and in my books. This will help you to correct any wrong eating habits that may be contributing to your swelling.

  35. Hi I have always wanted to know why I build up water all over my body during the day. I also do not wee the amount of water I have drunk, unless I lie down for at least half an hour, then I wee constantly especially if I lie on my left side?! When I do lie down I loose lots of water and feel really slim like I did when I wake up in the morning. Basically I know that I won’t be able to sleep for at least half an hour as I need to wee alot first.

    I drink at least 2 litres a day and hate salt so I never add them to my foods. The only processed foods I eat is bread which isn’t even everyday. When I am on my period I literally gain 6lbs!

    Many thanks :)

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Jasmin, you must report this to your doctor. It sounds like something may be pressing on your pelvic veins. Lying on your left side helps to relieve this pressure, which is why the problem then seems to resolve. It is very important to tell your doctor about this.

  36. Linda, I noticed that for the past week that my ankles and knees (and one day hands) were puffy by the end of the day. I’ve never retained fluid before, and it doesn’t seem to all go away. I’ve been a cashier for almost two years now and a lot of people have told me before that it’s common for cashiers to retain fluid, but it hadn’t happened with me until now. I’m not sure what’s causing it or what to do. I gained about 10 lbs in 3 months and throughout the day my weight fluctuates around 3 lbs. I had actually cut back on my soda and sweet intake a couple of months ago because I’m trying to lose weight. I’m still in a normal weight range, but I’m now at the higher end. I’ve been having a lot of problems with my menstrual cycle, but that’s been pretty common for years (though it has been worse in the last few months than it has been in several years). I drink between 5-8 bottles of water on most days. Especially the last few days, I’ve been staying really thirsty again, and I purposely drink as many water bottles as a I do. Even so, I don’t seem to need to go as often either in the last week or two. I know I have too much salt in my diet, but I’ve tried to cut back on that several times and get muscle cramps each time. I’m only 26. Do you have any advice for me?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Miranda, my advice is to give your doctor this information. Your doctor will check your heart and tell you whether your kidneys are ok. If he says your problem is idiopathic oedema (edema), or water retention of unknown cause, then I would advise that you read the book recommended on this site. It helps you to identify some of the potential causes of your swollen ankles and knees. These causes vary from person to person. You should also make sure you get enough exercise (even if just walking a mile a day) to keep your blood circulation healthy as you have a job that requires sitting down all day.

  37. I live in a tropical climate 6 months of the year and have noticed that my urine is dark and does not smell nice. I presume this is dehydration? My face is also swelling and puffy for no reason i.e. stings or bites. I am also suffering from a swollen distended stomach that so many people think I am pregnant!

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Denise it is important to drink more water when the weather is hot. You should consult a doctor about your swollen tummy before assuming it is water retention.

  38. I’ve been suffering from minor edema since being on birth control on my early 20′s. Twelve years have gone by, I’ve had three children, still have optimal weight, but the water retention is still there! I have tried different diets, mostly vegetarian, even the strictest raw food diet for almost 2 years – but I haven’t been able to get rid of edema, only to make it better (it’s not very noticeable unless I pinch). My diet is pretty good…. What am I missing?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Gerardine, I wish I could give you the answers you are looking for, but I would have to sit down with you to analyse your full diet and health history. I wish there was a magic answer but my work is detective work and this is like saying to me “who robbed my home” without giving me the chance to interview the neighbours. I hope you understand. I created this website to give people general pointers, and if these don’t help, I have written books which help you to do your own detective work. Please try to take the time to read my books and I hope they will help you to find the answer for your water retention.

  39. Hi Linda, I am 35 years old and I have had a water retention mostly in one leg since I was 17 years old. My left leg is visibly swollen 27 days of the month and it is worse during the summer. In my 20′s I was eating crap and from when I was 31, I decided to watch what I eat. I don’t drink Soda, don’t eat salty food and I exercise twice minimum. I drink plenty of water and I am really good at watching what I eat. I was tested several time and “everything looks fine” I even had a doppler test. Now my ankle(the left get more swollen that the right) that I can’t walk normally. Please advise.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Nadezda, I hope you have had the right kinds of tests. To have swelling in only one leg suggests some kind of partial blockage to the blood circulation for that leg. You are doing very well to watch your salt intake, avoid sodas and taking care with what you eat. All this will help to avoid some of the common causes of water retention.

  40. Bernardette says:

    Hi I have been a mild bulimic for a yr throwing up my dinner. A week after I stopped, my body started adding weight and water retention in my thighs and but which came and went. After a year clean d water retention turned to swelling and if I do cardio I swell more and gain a kg in a week and I don t think it s water as d weight won t go down when I stop exercising. No diet works anymore to lose weight. I ve done so many tests showing everything normal. Is this experience connected to bulimia? I m so down….

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Bernadette, water retention as a result of bulimia is very common. The metabolism is damaged by starvation and purging, and you need to allow your body time to heal, while ensuring that you maintain healthy eating habits and not over-exercising.

  41. I have been experimenting water retention for around 4-5 months now. But it is strange because it only happens on the weekends. And during the holidays i didn’t have any problem with it. During the school time it seems like from monday to driday everything is okay and then, on saturday i gain like 5 kg suddenly! It is killing me mentally, plus i feel very uncomfortable, heavy and my body hurts. Basically i get water retention on my face, legs, butt, stomach, back and hands. I have a healthy vegan diet (all my blood tests are okay) and good habits, but i can not find a reason why this happens, and my doctor can not either. Is it possible that it is caused by some nervious system or hormonal system disorder? I am 17, by the way

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Nor, you should try to think what is different when you are at home. Is there something you eat that you don’t have at school? Is your tap water contaminated? Is there mould in your home? Are you active or do you sit around too much? Water retention has many different potential causes.

  42. Hi Linda, I have read many interviews/ articles you have written and find your research very useful. I have a real problem with water retention in my body and live a very healthy life- I follow the alkaline diet, exercise every day, don’t smoke etc. I have a terrible problem in particular with water retention in my thigh area. My thighs for instance this morning measure 1 inch more than they did yesterday. This goes up and down all the time. I have been on Spironolactone for PCOS for quite a while now which I believe to be a diuretic so I am unsure as to why I am retaining so much fluid in the leg area. My ankles are fine as is most of the rest of my body.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Thank you Tia, I’m glad you find the information helpful. PCOS is a sign of metabolic imbalance in your body. Medications in the long term have a tendency to cause further metabolic imbalances. I would recommend that you carry out the testing outlined in my waterfall diet publications. This provides the answer for most people but if not, a naturopathic nutritionist will often be able to help PCOS which as a side benefit should help correct the imbalances that may be causing your water retention.

  43. I have been on 50 mg of spirolactone twice a day and 20 mg of lasix 3 times a day for about 6 months for my leg, ankle , and feet swelling. I have stage 2 liver scerosis. My doctor took me off the spirolactone for about a week because it was causing my breasts to hurt, and while off of it I gained 10 lbs. of fluid in my stomach and had to have it drained. will I have to keep going to have it drained? I am back on my lasix and spirolactone. Should I drink more water? What should I do? HELP

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Tim, a liver condition such as this can cause serious water retention. Because this is type I water retention you should continue to follow your doctor’s advice and treatment.

  44. Katrina jones says:

    Hi Linda, my name is katrina. My 54 year old sister has consistent swelling on her entire left side. She has seen a doctor and they couldn’t find anything. She’s currently seeking another physician. This has been occuring for a good portion of 2014 and still exist. I am so worried, searching the internet for answers. Do you have any idea of what the problem is?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Katrina, it may be that the doctors have not yet done the right kind of test. If the swelling is only on one side it suggests some kind of problem with the circulation or the lymphatic system.

  45. kali-kat kim says:

    I am 43 year old female and have 20 plus pounds of water weight or more. My anti-depressants don’t seem to be the problem either. My kidneys have shut down in the past twice for (unknown reasons). I eat pretty healthy and drink lots of water. I am taking cranberry supplements and going to try dandelion root supplements as they worked great in the past. I also discovered that a systemic(body wide) yeast infection can cause terrible water retention. Treating the yeast infection drastically helps reduce water retention. I am doing that now with lemon ginger tea, no sugar diet, and going to get some Pau d”Arco herbs which inhibits most fungus growth ( it will give you nausea and headaches) from the yeast cells dying off, but try to tolerate the herb for at least 4 weeks. Going to check out Linda’s waterfall diet too.

  46. Hi Linda, my Cranial Sacral Therapist has just told me I am retaining about 10 lbs of water, mostly in my gut. He nor my acupuncturist feel it is my heart as in congestive heart failure. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s 2 yrs ago and did not know if that could be the culprit. I also lost my business 2 yrs ago and have been sitting most of the day which is the opposite of what I had been. Prior to the loss of my business I was on my feet most all day always moving. Within a 4 year span I lost my mom, mother in law, dog, good friend, daughter and was then diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. This is where the sitting and just watching TV began or being on the internet. I am better about being up now, but retaining this water is bothersome as I know it can eventually cause heart problems. Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Sherry I am very sorry to hear of your losses. The water retention is your body telling you that it is not getting what it needs. It sounds like counselling would be a good thing for you, to help motivate you to take care of your health and get more exercise.

  47. Hi Linda, I have just read you website and it sound bril. I am 64yrs old for probably 30yrs of that since I have had my last child I have very swollen ankles and my knees are hugh and my legs and arm are very sore to touch, I have my heart checked and it was ok and my kidney function is perfect. Nobody seems to be able to tell me what is wrong with me. I am overweight but even when I lost three stone 10yrs ago I still was sore to touch everywhere. I would love to have a good shape leg again, and not be sore to touch. I do have high blood pressure now but even when I hadent my legs and ankles were always big swollen and sore to touch. Maybe you can help Thanking you so much

  48. I had never had a problem retaining fluids in my life and I’m 59 years old, but my blood pressure became high and I was put on a very mild diuretic. I went off of it for a short time and my legs/ankles/feet blew up like elephant man! I went back on them, but my blood pressure became too low. I took half of one each day, then half every other day and am now going several days in between. My blood pressure is just fine, although too low when I take the diuretics very much, but now I still swell up a LOT, especially my ankles and feet, whenever I don’t take the diuretic halves. How in the world can I get off of these things and get my normal legs and feet back? Please help! (Now, of course, I wish I had never started taking them in the first place!)

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Cheryl, that is fortunately what this website is all about. Please read the sections on improving your diet and on the dangers of long-term diuretics. If you feel you want to go further into investigating the causes of your water retention you will need to follow the test diet described in the Waterfall Diet book or the E-book which you can find on this site under ‘Downloads’.

  49. Hi Linda, do you have any experience with Lyme Disease? I have a lot of water/fluid retention from my thighs to my collar bone. I go for lymph massages. I am “boggy” not pitting edema. She is able to get lymph finally to move but it doesn’t seem to leave my body. What could be going on? I feel like I have a giant water balloon inside.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Linda, Lyme disease can certainly have many unpleasant effects. Water retention of unknown cause (that is, not related to a recognised medical condition) has at least seven causes that are related to nutrition and lifestyle so it is important to investigate these by reading as much as you can on this site.

  50. Craig Stephens says:

    Iam 55 male and in fairly good health. Been going to the gym 3-4 days a week for 25 years. So I knew my strength was good but cardio was down. I started walking a mile a day for 30 days, then 2 a day, now 3 a day after 90 days. so I thought what the heck and I jogged 3 miles one day, a very slow jog. Let me tell you the next day when I woke up my calf was killing me. so I didn’t walk for about 2 weeks and start walking again and everything seems fine but I just noticed now that just on that side that I hurt the calf my ankle is starting to either swell or hold water should I be concerned.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Injuries can certainly cause inflammation and swelling. Putting your foot up and giving your foot and leg plenty of massage to encourage lymphatic circulation will help. You can read more about the lymphatic system in my Waterfall Diet book (the paperback version published by Piatkus, which is the most comprehensive one).

  51. I recently started taking birth control. In the last month, I have gained 10 pounds! I work out 5-7 days a week for an hour. I haven’t changed my diet in any drastic way recently either. I have not gained any inches, but have lost maybe about an inch on my thighs. Could this be water retention?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Yes, several different types of medication can cause water retention by interfering with the hormones that control sodium levels in the body. Contraceptive pills are one type notorious for this.

  52. My doctor tells me I don’t have water retention, because when you press it, it’s supposed to stay down. That’s not the case with me. I have cellulite, but my legs look really puffy and in the morning my face is swollen. I told the doctor and they tell me I don’t have fluid renention? Could it be that I do have it? I also gained 5 kilo in 1 week. I am 23 years old and I weigh 68 kg. I eat very healthy and I drink 2liter of water everyday. I started working out 4 weeks ago, 6 days a week, but the cellulite doesn’t go away and the kilo’s too, could it be that it is water retention and can go away with more exercise?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Messa your doctor should certainly know that only water retention can cause a 5 kg weight gain in as little as one week. This is something that everyone knows. Maybe it’s time to change your doctor. But Usually we bring water retention upon ourselves with our eating habits. If you really want to combat this problem please read some of the reviews of my book the Waterfall Diet, which has helped many people discover what was causing their water retention. There are different causes in different people.

  53. sameen islam says:

    I am 26 n i have this problem of water retention for a year now n its periodic. Fluctuates with my periods n also with my salt intake but it began 2 yrs bapck when i was treated in hospital with 4 iv plus oral antibiotics simultaneously for my complicated typhoid and brucellosis. I am though almost 15 ķģs above my ideal body weight n i am not loosing it no matter how hard i try…. may it be a slow or a fast weight loss

  54. I hold so much fluid that it hurts my feet so bad I can barely walk. I even sleep with my sneakers on because it feels better. It is terrible having to do tha t 24 hours a day. I take a 40mg tablet of Lasix a day but it really does’t do much. I am under doctor care for lymphedema and have had many cases of cellulitis and now they want me to see a vascular doctor so I will be doing that now to. I have so much pain in my legs and feet every day so bad. I also wear compression stockings during the days and I use a Flex touch pumps on both legs (full leg) for 45 minutes a day on each one. And nothing is really happening, getting very frustrated with all of this.

  55. Cristela says:

    For about 1 month now I have noticed my hands and feet swelling up everyday. It seems that it is usually either, or, not both feet. Sometimes it’s my arms. My right arm right now is significantly bigger than my left arm and I get tingling sensation on my feet and hand and arms when they swell up. I have tried taking OTC diuretic and it helps minimally. I do not have blood pressure problems, I check my blood pressure regularly and it stays pretty normal.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Cristela, I don’t recommend taking diuretics for water retention of unknown cause. They may seem to help but they will start a dependency which in time will make the problem much worse. Hopefully this site and the books mentioned will help you identify anything you may be doing wrong in terms of your eating habits, exercise habits, or any medications you are taking, that could be causing this problem.

  56. Christina says:

    I have fluid retention all over my body, very swollen from my waist down. My face eyes and neck also have fluid retention. I had my monthly intragam infusion, and over the next 24hrs I noticed the fluid. I am heavily pre medicated to have my intragam as I have anaphylaxis otherwise. I have 50 Iv phenurgan and 100 hydrocortisone to prevent anaphylaxis. I’ve been having this treatment for 13 yrs and have never experienced this fluid retention before. I’m confused and intrigued to know what causes this water retention.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Christina, the body can cope for many years with various stressors such as allergies and medications before it begins to show symptoms of stress. Water retention can be a symptom of such stress.

  57. Brandon says:

    For the last week or so I’ve been retaining a lot of water in both of my legs (high ankle area) what should I do? I’ve already decreased my sodium intake and have been drinking close to 10 glasses of water a day.

  58. I am 31 years old, for the past 3 years once or twice a year I swell to the point it hurts to walk. I got into a bad accident Nov. 12th 2010 I have a bad back and bad knees. Normally I have a hard time gaining weight I just couldn’t do it. Since the swelling started the first time I put a little weight on each time I swell so I finally got to were I looked healthy. I’m 5’4″ I have been under 110 lbs my whole life so finally last summer I got to 125 lbs this year 130 lbs goal reached. In the last month I gain 38- 40lbs I look between 6 and 7 months pregnant which I’m not. I have been constipated so my Dr has me on Miralax and docolace. I changed my diet and it’s not working. In the past when this happened ( I didn’t realize the constipation was connected to the swelling since my normal bm is once or twice a week) I have gotten blood work and it never said anything was wrong. So I would take a water pill otc for a few days and I would be fine. I just went to the Dr I have to get more blood work, ugh. I had a P.E. Feb. 2013 I will be on blood thiners for the rest of my life. Other then that I have depression and anxiety since I was little but have always been healthy. I also have 2 girls 10 and 8 normal pregnancy and labor baby weight was gone less then 6 month after with no exercise. Please help. If I get any bigger there really will be no ablity for me to walk. My only symptoms are severe swelling and the worst constipation of my life.

  59. Hi, my daughter is 16 years old and her stomach looks 9 months pregnant. She is not pregnant, we had several pregnancy tests. She has a history of constipation, and as soon as I noticed her stomach getting larger, I started giving her 3 enemas daily. Before the enemas, she was constantly tired, had stomach pains when she walked and ribs were starting to hurt. After the first enema, all the pain went away but her stomach went down only 2 inches. Today, her feet and ankles are swollen and can’t control her urine. She has been taking miralax for 6 years. She has no pain at all, does not feel dizzy, has a lot of energy, very good appetite, heart rate 60 beats per minute and is very happy. Someone please help me. I have no insurance and no money to purchase one. Been giving her enemas for 3 months. I know about the risks but like I mentioned, she has no symptoms at all. I have looked up every possible disease/condition and nothing matches what she’s experiencing. Please, please, please I beg for anyone to answer if they know the cause of the problem. Her legs are swollen as well. Thank you All

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Karla, this site will help you. Your daughter needs to carry out the dietary testing procedure outlined in the waterfall diet book. It may be very different from what she is used to eating, and some people complain about this, but try to get her to persevere. The testing only takes a few weeks and is her best chance of finding the causes of her health problems before getting a doctor’s opinion.

  60. I have been on a diuretics regimen since 2007. I’ve had all the tests (heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.) but no cause has been identified. The only option has been to continue the diuretics. Since I am on the diuretics can the Waterfall diet help me still in an effort to identify the cause of the fluid retention? I have ordered your book and it’s on the way for delivery.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Lola, diuretics are not the right treatment for idiopathic oedema (edema) and actually make it worse by causing dehydration, forcing the body to hold on to water. After so many years you no doubt find that as soon as you try to stop the diuretics, the swelling returns worse than ever before. The swelling occurs because the diuretics have taught your body to hold on to water. The waterfall diet book will help you identify the original cause of your water retention, but you must at the same time gradually wean yourself off the pills. Take it slowly, over a matter of months to avoid too much rebound swelling.

  61. My legs started swelling over a week ago my legs have never been like this before my feet hurt so bad i prop them up im taking lasix still they wont go down i have had a doppler cardiac and kidney fuction tests done they all came back just fine.

  62. Lenore Hoffman says:

    I am so glad I found out about you and how to deal with water retention. I never suntanned but once in my early 20′s I went to the lake and ended up with a bad sunburn. My feet swelled up and was told that I had lympodema. I have been on water pills for over 30 years and have not been able to get my weight down. I don’t eat a lot but the weight doesn’t come off. I told my doctor and he just said I would have a hard time because of the water weight. I feel hopeful after finding your site. Thanks – I am going to do your Waterfall Diet and probably the Soup Diet too. I never use salt and try to not eat very many foods with salt in them. I just signed up with a personal trainer and am excited to tell him about this. I have to get to bed now but will read about this more tomorrow. Thank you so much for having this.

  63. I lost 26 lbs. and now when I drink water or tea, my feet swell. If I don’t drink enough water my side hurts. Why?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Maria, there is a page on this site which deals with the topic of leg and foot swelling. If your side hurts when you are dehydrated, this may be because the dehydration is affecting one of your organs on the side in question, such as your liver or perhaps your large intestine.

  64. Linda Lazarides says:

    Zora, certainly the two things could be related. There are at least seven different causes of water retention, and I would not like to try to guess which ones apply to you. By reading this website you will get more information which will hopefully help you.

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