Symptoms

If you suffer from water retention you could have several possible symptoms. Water retention symptoms vary from one person to the next. Some of the classic symptoms include

  • A swollen, bloated tummy
  • Breast tenderness (women)
  • Swollen legs, feet or ankles
  • Exercise and low calorie diet doesn’t help you lose weight
  • Getting up at night to urinate
  • Waking up in the morning with a swollen face

swollen legs SymptomsYou might just have one of these symptoms, or you might have all of them.

One very sure symptom of water retention is when your body weight fluctuates a lot within a very short time. Try weighing yourself a couple of times a day, every day for two weeks. If the readings fluctuate a lot, for instance if you weigh several pounds less on Tuesday than you did on Monday, you could have water retention. Only water can cause such rapid changes in your weight.

A classic test for water retention which doctors carry out is to press a finger into your shin-bone. If it leaves a dent, this is a definite water retention symptom.

Of all symptoms, the one most difficult to spot is weight gain. There is plenty of capacity for your body to retain water all over, and gradually expand, making you look fat. This type of fat has a puffy appearance, while real fat hangs and sags, and can actually be ‘pinched by the inch’.  For instance, love handles are real fat.

pamela 2005 082 300x224 SymptomsSometimes water leaks out of the small blood vessels in your tummy and collects inside, where it swishes around. This is another type of water retention, although it is not common and mostly occurs in alcoholics.

For more information try visiting our home page.

Not sure whether you have water retention? Upload a photo and tell us a little about your condition.

Upload your water retention photo

 Symptoms

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.

Comments

  1. I can remember in my 20′s I would gain 7lbs in the course of a day; my stomach would be like a ball. I have brittle asthma and have high dose inhaled steroid medication, but in 2004 I was on 60mg/day oral steroid for 5/6 months and developed Cushingoid symptoms. Since then I have struggled to lose the 15kg I gained. I eat mainly fish, vegetables, very lean meats, very limited dairy(semi skimmed milk) some Wholemeal bread, at least 3 litres water/day. I was in the gym 4 days/week, 4 hours/day with a trainer, but following a laminectomy in 2010 I have not returned. This gym work sadly resulted in not one pound of weight loss. However, lying flat on my back for 8 weeks after the operation resulted in a 5kg weight loss. I cannot lose weight no matter what I try, and doctors refuse to consider that my problems may be metabolic dysfunction due to long term high dose oral steroid. I am currently losing inches from everywhere but my belly; my weight goes up within half a hour of rising, whether I eat and drink or not. (I have tried my weight after eating breakfast, not eating breakfast, only drinking water, not drinking at all) nothing changes the dramatic weight gain, as much as 3lbs in an hour. Is my problem water retention, or something else?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Lindsey, this is a very complex health history. It is always frustrating when doctors cannot help but the reason is sadly that their knowledge is a lot more limited than we may believe. Keep searching for the answer. I don’t know whether this is water retention, but if you think it might be then I do hope my book will help.

  2. astrid cohen says:

    47 year old daughter on Abilify for 3 years started showing signs of water retention in arms and hands. Stays on a 12,000 calorie diet in order not to gain more weight having gained 30 pounds. Her pschopharmacologist lowered her dose of Abilify but after a week the edema remains.

  3. I been have fluid problem for a long time in my life I.m taking hydrocclorothiazide 25mg, My Dr have me on high blood pressure with fluid table, but i gain 6 pounds, but i told my Dr to give me my blood pressure and fluid table separated , so i did dropped a few pounds, but every now and then i do hear fluid on the top of my stomach, i told my Dr about, only thing he told you don’t suppose to hear that and he touch my legs and that was hit, but i do drinks a lot of water sometime trying to flush the fluid. My stomach is big on top but extremely big, sometime i can hear like it bubble. .

  4. I have two fingers that are so swollen they kill me my thumb and pinky on my right hand. It hurts so bad to bend them. They feel soft an mushy at times then other they feel hard. I am right handed and it makes it hard for me to do anything. I had a bone infection in my right foot months ago and the hospital didnt take care of it correctly the first time I went in the second time I demanded something be done they put me on antibotics (iv) and on pills for 5 1/2 month. Can you please help me and let me know what I can do.

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Lydia, it is not normal to get bone infections, especially something so severe. Have you read the nutrition advice on this website? All kinds of health problems can happen from not eating right. If your doctor does not know why your fingers are swollen, be sure to keep massaging them very firmly several times a day. This should help.

  5. I am 52 yrs old. I was divorced 10 yrs ago which seemed to help in a health spiral down. I got high bp, water retention, anxiety etc. I never had a problem other than musculoskeletal deterioration disease which is congenital. I now also have very low potassium levels as well. I stay away from salt, no canned foods unless salt free or low sodium. However at times I like to eat w my daughter and grand kids as a treat. We had pizza last night , by this morning I could not even open my eyes, had heart palpitations and gained 15 lb in ONE NIGHT!! I have had several spinal surgeries also injections due to torn minis us in knees, 1 inch of osteoarthritis plus part of my collarbone removed due to this terrible arthritic cond. help I am feeling exhausted. I am 5’4″ normal wt 155 at this time. At time of divorce I was 140. Could stress have caused all of this? I know the low potassium will be normal for my disease but the water retention, high bp, which bp is controlled but dr won’t remove the meds. What do I do about the water retention. I am a healthy eater. Felt like my head would burst today and very dizzy and anxious due to so much bloating all over my body especially fav

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Dana, stress makes people eat junk food, so they are more prone to get deficiencies and imbalances which interfere with their metabolism.

  6. Hi Linda, my GP is not taking my symptoms seriously. I’ve reduced my salt intake, drink plenty of water, increased my protein intake. Nothing is helping me lose the sudden 8lbs i gained in under 2 weeks. The swelling is mainly in my lower abdomen on height of my hip bones. My whole stomach feels swollen, puffed out. I also have noticed some in my thighs. Reading your site I suppose it could be digestion/intestine related. I have been constipated recently but that seems to be ok again now apart from the gas. Do you recommend your waterfall diet book for me and/or should I push my gp to take my water weight gain seriously?

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Megan, it’s not about taking it seriously. GPs don’t have any effective treatments for idiopathic oedema. Hoping my book helps you. Wishing you well.

  7. Im 44 and I have been suffering with swelling in ankles for the past year they look like a half of an apple collarbone is swollen as well as armpits fingers hands behind my neck and below my eyes are really bad as well. My doctor sent me for a ct scan and it did show that my lymph nodes are swollen I have to make an appointment in a couple of weeks for a follow up to see if there is a change. I do have thyroid condition ic and fibromyalgia and reflex sympathetic dystrophy I have no appetite at all weak all the time Im very concerned that it could be Hodgkin disease or some other illness My question is could it be just water retention

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Tracy, your water retention is being caused by the blockage in your lymph nodes. Hopefully your doctors will be able to tell you what is causing this. It is not simple water retention. My best advice is to look at the healthy eating advice on this site. So many health problems start when the body is weakened by poor food choices such as consuming too much sugary food and drink.

Leave a Reply