Medical Treatments

pills-300x199The water retention remedies prescribed by doctors are known as diuretics. There are several varieties, none of which is a cure for water retention, as they have to be taken every day.

Loop diuretics and Thiazine diuretics

These have names like bumetanide, frusemide, hydrochlorothiazide and metolazone. They encourage your kidneys to excrete sodium. As the sodium is excreted, it takes water along with it. These drugs can also cause large losses of potassium – a vital mineral which you need to replace by drinking plenty of fruit or vegetable juice..

Potassium-sparing diuretics

These have names like spironolactone and triamerine. They work in a similar way to the other diuretics, but do not cause such large losses of potassium.

Side effects of diuretics

Most pharmaceutical medicines change one aspect of our metabolism while at the same time unbalancing others. Diuretics increase your excretion of valuable minerals like potassium and magnesium. Some can cause gout. These medicines are important for treating severe water retention (oedema or edema) caused by a malfunctioning heart or kidneys. But if used in other types of water retention, such as those due to leaky blood vessels or histamine (see Causes of Water Retention), diuretics could aggravate your water retention; your body will hold on to fluid to avoid becoming dehydrated. In these situations, diuretics, whether of the pharmaceutical or herbal variety, are counter-productive. The best solution is to address the causes of your water retention with the Waterfall Diet.

Herbal Diuretics

These include herbs like dandelion leaf and boldo. They are much less powerful than pharmaceutical medicines but can still cause mineral losses. The Waterfall Diet book recommends several herbal medicines, such as red clover. These are not herbal diuretics, and do not stimulate your kidneys to release water. They work by helping to balance hormones and the contents of the tissue spaces. They form part of the Waterfall Diet plan.

About Linda Lazarides

Linda Lazarides is an international expert on water retention, author of eight books and founder of the British Association for Nutritional Therapy. She has successfully treated hundreds of people referred to her by doctors. See success stories or download E-guide.


  1. I take a med called bumex twice a day to get the fluid off of me i have had surgery four stints put in my legs dr sd that could be the problem why i was swelling and I’m still swelling its not just a little water retention it is unbearable at times before my surgery i lost 30lbs of fluid over night in the hospital its been 3 months since all of this I’m back to swelling even with taking my meds i’ve gained 35lbs in less than a week aim miserable all my heart stuff checked out fine they say my kidneys is fine even tho i don’t urinate often I’m not diabetic my thyroid levels are good even tho i take meds for that too what else could it be i feel like the drs are missing something or tired of looking i am 30 years old i should not feel like I’m 70 my regular physician dr say it could idiocracy i asked what is that he said sometimes women swell and we never know why??? i don’t know what else to do i feel like giving up but like i said above at times its unbearable

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Leeanne, it is quite true that doctors don’t know why some women swell. They call it ‘idiopathic oedema (edema)’. That means ‘water retention of unknown cause’. I have spent 25 years trying to educate people and their doctors that there are about 5 different causes of ‘idiopathic oedema’ which can be fixed by means of dietary changes, changing medications, aiding lymphatic drainage and so on. You can read about all this in my books (see the Publications link above). The one thing that does NOT work for idiopathic oedema, and usuallly makes it worse in the long term, is taking water pills, also known as diuretics. Bumex and Lasix are examples of diuretics.

  2. Hi my doctor keeps putting mine down to my weight even wen I have lost weight my ankles swell I can’t get any ankle shoes to fit hardly I’m only 24 an they can get quite painful Web out walking as I do walk quite a bit

  3. modesto says:

    Hi I’m Modesto I been having swelling in the stomach, for almost two years, now I’m at the hospital, doctor had the fluid drained, but at the very same day my stomach started to grow again. I can’t breathe nor eat, and drink any fluids.

  4. Please help! Ove gained a lot of weight fast was always 100 lbs at age 50 I have gone up to 180 & can’t barley walk the pains so bad. I’ve a skin rashes too that keeps me from dating and I look pregnant now at 55! I had her C but in remission 3 years now & fingers are so swelled I keep dropping things and lost my pain meds and my Dr that doesn’t know what’s going on with me I have fibromyagia. Bad back & neck from some bad car pop gave me 5 refills of water pills which my friend that’s a nurse said I’m chronic. My ankles went down a lot todAy but hurt so bad bc my nuro Dr won’t refill my pain meds. My pop also diid heart tests and it’s has something to do with my heart not pumping out regularly. My dad has a pacemaker and his whole family is passed from heart disease or has issues! My friend whose the nurse lives too far to see me in person but said I need to go to hospital to get lasik. I can’t fit in any clothes, I live alone on second floor and have a small dog I can’t walk downstairs to let him out & what if there’s a fire? I can’t take this anymore!!y mother died when I was,16 & live on disability and barley make it month to month I own my condo but I don’t have a washer & dryer & my Dad lives 650+ miles away but never helped me & I have a daughter getting married next May & want to help with the wedding planning & shopping & I have a grown son. I live alone but am lonely too & hate to make them worry bc I watched my mom die in 5 slow yrs from cancer. God rest her soul!

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Tracey, I’m very sorry to hear of your problems, but unless you have been diagnosed with a heart, kidney or liver condition, water retention is all about what you eat or don’t eat, so please try to read as much of this website as you can, and this will help you understand your condition.

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