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Water retention could be the reason behind your weight gain! Here’s how to tackle it

Published on:3 October 2021, 08:00am IST
To identify whether your weight gain may be due to water retention, you must pay attention to these signs and symptoms.
Aayushi Gupta
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water retention causes weight gain
Fluid retention is often temporary and can be easily treated. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Are you experiencing unexplained and rapid weight gain, despite making healthier diet choices and working out regularly? Well ladies, you’re not alone. You must have heard that the human body consists of 50 to 60% water, but there are some who struggle with excess water weight. 

Sudden weight gain is usually caused by hormonal changes, especially when you’re menstruating or expecting a baby; it can sometimes be caused by certain medications too. But if that’s not the case and you’re still experiencing sudden weight gain, it could actually be water weight or more appropriately water retention, also known as fluid retention or edema weight.

Before we get to the other details, let’s first understand what water retention is

“One’s body is mainly made up of water. If the hydration levels are not balanced , you may feel heavier than usual, as the body will hang on to that water. Water retention or fluid retention (edema) can be described as an excessive build-up of fluid in the circulatory system, one’s tissues, or cavities in the body, which can cause worrisome signs like swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, and legs. It is a common health problem and tends to occur on a daily basis.

You will also be shocked to know that having water retention continuously can indicate serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary edema, or fluid buildup inside your lungs, and even fibroids in women,” shared Dr. Pritam Moon, a consultant physician, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, with HealthShots.

Water retention can be uncomfortable, but it’s temporary. In fact, it’s not the actual weight gain! 

But what causes water retention?

If you are suffering from water retention, there could be a number of factors at play. Dr Moon shares the causes:

1. Too much sitting

Yes, water retention also happens due to sitting for a long time, as the body tends to hold on to water.

water retention causes weight gain
Long sitting hours are hazardous for your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
2. Standing for a longer period

This can also be problematic, as there is not enough blood circulation and water retention.

3. Menstruation

It can lead to fluctuation of the hormones, and water retention.

4. Certain medications

This can lead to water retention, as a side effect of the medication.

Also, read: Can drinking more water help you lose weight? Let’s find out

5. Heart problem

Are you aware? A weak heart can lead to water retention too.

6. Pregnancy

Weight fluctuation during pregnancy can lead to water retention.

7. Hot weather conditions

Sometimes, the body is unable to eliminate fluid accumulated in the tissues, and water retention is seen.

8. High consumption of sodium

If you are used to eating processed foods that are packed with sodium on a daily basis, you may see water retention. 

water retention causes weight gain
When it comes to salt and sodium, less is always more. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Moreover, you will be shocked to know that water retention can be a warning sign of other health problems, including kidney diseases like nephrotic syndrome, lupus, allergic reactions, arthritis, or even chronic lung diseases like emphysema. It is the need of the hour to determine the cause of water retention and take appropriate measures to tackle it, suggested Dr Moon. 

What can you do to keep the water flowing?

1. Lower your sodium intake: Do not consume salty foods like potato chips, namkeens, wada, samosa, bread, bhajiya, canned vegetables, ice cream, candy, flavored foods, pasta, pizza, and burgers. Ask the expert about the amount of salt you need to have per day.

2. Eat potassium and magnesium-loaded foods: You can have tomatoes, bananas, avocados, or spinach.

3. Eat enough protein: A balanced protein intake can prevent water retention.

4. Elevate your feet: Doing so can ensure proper blood flow, and help you avoid water retention.

5. Compression socks: This helps in squeezing the leg, and avoiding fluid accumulation that causes water retention.

6. Eat vitamin B6-rich foods: Soya beans, oats and peanuts can help you prevent water retention.

water retention causes weight gain
Vitamin B6 is one of the most important vitamins that you need to consume to prevent water retention. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. Do not have refined carbs: They will cause high blood sugar and insulin levels. Moreover, high insulin levels will retain more sodium and there will be water retention. Say no to waffles and pastries.

8. Stay hydrated: Try to drink enough water to avoid water retention.

9. Exercise: Strength training and walking can help you avoid fluid accumulation and enhance blood circulation. And there will be no bloating too. So, exercise for 30 minutes every day.

10. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products to avoid water retention. 

11. Increase your fibre intake: If your diet is low in fibre, you will not be able to get rid of the accumulated water in an efficient way.

12. Natural diuretics: Opt for cabbage, cucumber, and parsley as they are natural diuretics. Cut down on coffee and alcohol, as they cause dehydration.

If you are experiencing water retention that lasts more than a week, it is important to consult with your physician to determine the cause and to rule out any possible health conditions.

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.