Water retention in men

Water retention in men is often more straightforward than it is in women since men do not have a monthly menstrual cycle.

In men, the causes of water retention can still be hormonal, but the hormone in question is more likely to be insulin. As we age our insulin can lose its effectiveness, so the body tries to compensate by producing more insulin. This happens in both men and women. High insulin levels interfere with the body’s sodium control, resulting in water retention.

This water retention is not always visible. It can just look like you’ve put on a bit of weight, but this weight is water as well as fat.

Men and oestrogen (estrogen)

High levels of the hormone oestrogen can also cause water retention. Just as testosterone is found in both men and women, so is oestrogen, although it plays a more important role in women’s bodies.

Oestrogen can be produced by body fat, so overweight men are more likely to have higher oestrogen levels. Many of today’s pollutants such as PCBs also have an oestrogenic effect, and men can be affected by this too.

Other causes of water retention in men

It may surprise you to know this, but you can suffer from both dehydration and water retention at the same time.

Dehydration is a common cause of water retention. When it is dehydrated the body learns to hold on to water in order to prevent damage to its vital tissues. Men are more at risk of dehydration than women because they are more likely to do manual work which increases sweating, or very active sports such as football. Men also tend to drink more alcohol, which has an extremely dehydrating effect.

Other drinks which cause dehydration are tea and coffee. Like alcohol all these drinks stimulate the kidneys to remove more water from the blood.

Most people need to drink much more water than is their custom. The minimum for men is two litres a day – more if you are physically active.

We also recommend reading causes of water retention.

 Water retention in men

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. Thank you Linda for your help…I have water retention at least 5 months,the swelling of my legs hurt,my pennis and testicles so swallon,I walk I feel so tire,I can not handle this anymore,June 13 I have a colonscopy and scope,becouse the specialist said the swallow is relate with the heavy diarrhea that for 5 months do not leave me life,wish me all the luck to return to be normal person again.Thanks. Victor

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Victor, do try to read the Waterfall diet book. It may not provide the whole answer to your problem, but you do need the knowledge if you are going to attempt to heal yourself. It doesn’t sound like your doctors really know how to cure this.

  2. sherry dookran says:

    could water retention damage you kidneys

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Water retention can indeed occur if your kidneys have a problem. Your kidneys are responsible for extracting water from your blood and releasing it as urine, so if they are not working well, the water stays in your blood, usually causing swollen ankles and feet.

  3. Christopher says:

    I am 63 , 6ft and 19.5 stone . I was told I was a diabetic about 10 years ago . My doctors then put me on various medicines and are pleased that my blood tests covering everything , say everything is ok. However my ankles are very enlarged and I have started reading about what causes this . In the short term , what should I do . ( I know I should lose 3 stone , but I am in a very stressful job, the stock Market , and I drink about 100 units a week . Christopher

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Christopher, we often subconsciously know what is causing our health problems, and you have mentioned both stress and alcohol. Both of these are highly disruptive to the normal workings of the body. There is no magic pill, only work as far as health is concerned. I hope my book may give you some guidance but you should also ask your doctor to check your heart and kidneys.

  4. I am a 47 year old man with severe water retention.. I also have many disc herniation’s in my back that prevent me from being active.. I am way overweight but i wasn’t i have gained over 100 lbs since i became immobile.. I have diabetes type 2 and take glipizide, i also take one a day vitamins, fish oil, nortriptoline, gabapentine, oxycodone,pantropazol,sulindac,senna,low dose asprin, @ years ago i hurt my back and the doctors here will not do anything for me.. I have 14 herniation’s in my back 12 in the thoracic alone. I have 2 fusions in the cervical and i have 2 more herniation’s in the lower lumbar.. I am still walking but no one knows how.. I cant feel my legs and half my arms and hands are numb as with my legs.. I have had many electrical tests done and according to the doctor with really bad results but he will not tell me what the results were.. The signal they were most concerned with was in my opinion was the signal that went from feet to head.. They did that test 5 times and i heard a lot of wow’s or this can’t be, and hearing him consult with a colleague asking “Did i read this right?” Or, ” When is the last time the machine has been checked?” And the clincher was “Good lord how long has this been going on, how is he able to walk?” And yet the spine specialists say i am not a candidate to be seen by them.. It has been 2 years and i find myself unable to walk the length of my home without pain or my back feeling a stabbing and immense pain that throws me to the ground.. I need something done i know that but recently for about maybe 1 month my legs get so full of water one leg the skin has split from the swelling, it still oozes today.. The doctor has put me on a water pill and gave a weeks supply 7 pills. I am afraid this wont go away.. What are your recommendations now that i have painted a picture of my health situation..

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Gary, sadly this information doesn’t really help to identify what may be causing your water retention. The only way for you to find out is by learning more about the causes of water retention. That is why I wrote my book, to help people like you look beyond the limitations of medical treatments, to the connection between your health and what you eat.

  5. im 6ft and 25 yrs old. i weighed 6 stone 13 lbs and then 10-14 days later i weighted myself and i was 9 stone. my face and eyes were really swallon and my knees,ankles and feet were really swollen. my belly was really bloated and caould not belive the massive weight gain in a short space of time. my legs were really big and heavy could not run or play football. what is this problem as my doctor keeps saying i need to gain weight as i used to weigh 6 stone 13 lbs, but now weigh 9 stone please help

    • Linda Lazarides says:

      Az, the word weight can be very confusing since your doctor is talking about lean body mass and a sudden weight gain of 2 stones can only be caused by retaining water. I can only suggest you think about what you have been doing differently – maybe eating or drinking something new – to account for this change.

  6. Hi, I’m a 42 yr old male. recently i’ve had swollen feet and ankles, and also presistant diahria. what can I do to fix my problem