Water Retention Facts And Answers

linda photo2 254x300 150x150 Water Retention Facts And AnswersHere you can find answers about water retention, its symptoms, causes 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 feet, legs and ankles, bloating, water weight and treatments. If you need more information, you can also read one of Linda’s books. Knowledge is the key to understanding and overcoming this condition.

Site Index

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. Or 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.

Scroll down and you will see that you can also subscribe to a twice-monthly informative email newsletter about health and weight loss.

Wishing you good health

LL sig font Water Retention Facts And Answers



  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. kwaku sarfo says:

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?