Water retention means accumulation of fluid in the body especially in the hands, ankles and feet. This condition is also called oedema in medical terms. Although oedema can occur in any part of your body, it usually affects the hands, feet and legs.
Common signs of oedema include swelling, puffiness, stretched or shiny skin and dimpling of the skin after being pressed for a few seconds.
Causes of water retention
There are many reasons for fluid accumulation or oedema. Oedema may result from sitting or staying in one position for many hours, air travel, a surgical procedure, high salt intake, malnutrition, insect bites, premenstrual syndrome or pregnancy. However, there can be a serious medical cause behind oedema. It can also occur due to kidney diseases, liver diseases or heart failure. Check with your doctor if you have swelled feet or hands to rule out any underlying diseases.
When the reason for swelling of feet and hands is not due to any serious medical condition, it can be easily treated with some home remedies.
Here are some best remedies for swelling of feet and hands (oedema).
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a well-known remedy to reduce oedema symptoms. Being high in potassium, it helps to restore potassium levels in the body and reverse fluid retention. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory property helps reduce swelling and pain. Dilute 1 or 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Drink it twice daily.
This is one of the best home remedies for swollen hands and feet and is also known as epsom salt. A bath with magnesium sulfate can help you get rid of swelling, inflammation and pain due to oedema. It draws out excess fluids and toxins from your body. Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt in warm bathwater. Soak in it for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat up to 3 times a week.
Regular massage is another effective home remedy for swollen hands and feet. Massaging with gentle strokes creates pressure on the affected skin and muscle areas. This activates the lymphatic system and the fluid drains away naturally. Warm some mustard, olive or coconut oil, massage the affected area gently with the warm oil. Do this several times a day.
Reduce Salt Intake
High salt intake puts you at a higher risk for oedema. High amounts of sodium contribute to water retention in the tissues. Health experts recommend eating less than 1 teaspoon of salt daily. Limit your intake of salty foods, such as packaged snacks and fast food.
Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to oedema. Exercise and other physical activities can help reduce swelling of legs and feet. It also prevents the intensity of symptoms when oedema occurs. Enjoy jogging or brisk walking for 30 minutes a day. Exercise is one of the best ways to treat swollen feet.
Flaxseeds are an effective remedy for oedema. The anti-inflammatory property of flaxseeds can help reduce swelling. Moreover, flaxseeds aid in detoxification, which means they help get rid of harmful toxins from the body. Add 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseeds to a glass of warm water. Drink it 2 times daily. It is one of the safe and best natural ways to treat swollen feet and hands.
One of the best herbal remedies for swollen legs and feet is to have coriander seeds. The anti-inflammatory property of coriander seeds can reduce swelling and pain. Plus, these seeds encourage good blood circulation. Mix 3 tablespoons of coriander seeds in 1 cup of water. Heat it to a boil, then simmer until the water reduces by half. Strain and allow it to cool. Drink this 2 times a day until the symptoms are gone.
The herb dandelion acts as natural diuretic and thus encourages the draining of fluid. It also has potassium, which helps balance out sodium in the body. It removes the sodium from body by stopping it’s re-absorption in blood from kidneys. This in turn helps reduce swelling and inflammation due to oedema. Mix 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried dandelion leaves in a cup of hot water. Cover for 5 to 7 minutes and strain it. Drink 2 to 3 cups of dandelion tea every day. Avoid dandelion if you have gallbladder problems.
It is helpful in reducing swelling and pain by helping your body remove excess fluids. Parsley has diuretic effects. It means it increases the volume and frequency of urine. By frequent urination excess fluid is flushed out from the body. Add 1 teaspoon of dried parsley to 2 cups of water. Boil it for 10 minutes, then strain it. Drink it once daily in the morning before eating breakfast.
Tea Tree Oil
You can use tea tree oil to treat oedema or inflammation caused by insect bites or stings. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can reduce swelling and pain from oedema. Put a few drops of tea tree oil on a cotton swab and apply it on the affected area. Wait for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat as needed.
Water retention can be reduced by some simple changes in diet and lifestyle. Include less salt in your diet, avoid junk and processed foods. Go for jogging or brisk walk and massage on the affected area. Eat foods rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium and avoid refined carbs. You must also see a doctor to rule out any serious underlying medical condition.