Water retention

A malfunctioning of the kidneys causes water retention. In most cases it is not a signal that you have kidney problems - although if you are over 45 and find yourself suddenly suffering with bloating and swelling, especially of the ankles, then it would be a good idea to see your GP and ask for a general check. Water retention can be a sign of renal hypertension, high blood pressure or heart problems, so a GP check will eliminate worries and allow you implement the advice given here. In the case of hypertension, the external pressure of the unwanted water, upon the veins and arteries, causes a narrowing of the internal passages, called the lumen, and consequently the same quantity of blood flows through a smaller compressed bore, the result of which is increased pressure.

The role of the kidneys

In the vast majority of cases, water retention is the result of the kidneys not being allowed to do their job properly. Their function is phenomenal in its complexity. They are a vital part of an elaborate system designed by evolution to deal with everything we take in by mouth, air and through our skin. The kidneys identify the nutrients our body needs, like vitamins and minerals, which they send back into the bloodstream. And they also detect toxins, like unwanted pollutants, which along with our general waste, they send into the body's rejection and evacuation system. We cannot survive without their contribution!

They work around the clock 24 hours a day, all our lives, and are also responsible for making sure that all parts of the body get water as and when they need it. And this is where we find the heart of the water retention problem.

The kidneys take water from wherever they can find it within the body; if there isn't enough then they perform inefficiently. When water doesn't arrive where it's needed, the body thinks a drought-emergency is imminent and goes into survival mode. Instead of using and eventually shedding the water it has at its disposal in our cells and tissues, it holds on to it, and stores it in all the familiar places we know well!

The Remedy - Drink more water!

This is very simple, so long as you don't make a very common mistake. Water retention doesn't mean you are holding too much water and therefore should drink less! Quite the opposite in fact; the answer is to drink more!

A lot of people sufferneedlessly from this experience, and I know from their health questionnaires and comments, that they are just not drinking enough water. This can't be over-emphasised. Today's diet of junk, packaged and "fast" foods with their emphasis on carbohydrates, means the kidneys just aren't receiving enough water. Too little water equals water retention. A very simple formula!

How much should I drink?

Fortunately, the answer is just as simple. Try and drink at least one, preferably two litres of water every day. And that's in addition to other drinks like tea or coffee, which can, in actual fact, actually dehydrate you a little with their caffeine content! Bottled spring or mineral water is best, but tap water will do. Avoid salt on, and in food, it only encourages the body to retain water. Eat more fruit and vegetables, both are full of water, as well as the more obvious nutritional benefits.

Keep the water flowing in, and the kidneys will make sure it keeps on flowing out!

Juniper is excellent aromatherapy oil that can sometimes help with water retention. Add a couple of drops in 10 ml of carrier oil like sweet almond, and massage it into the affected areas.

Replacing your losses

Every time you visit the lavatory, try to drink a large glass of water afterwards. Make it a life pattern and if possible, carry a small bottle with you everywhere and keep sipping. The paler your urine at the end of the day, the more efficiently your kidneys are working; if it's dark, then they are struggling. Keep a note of how much water you drink, then, when your urine is colourless at the end of the day, you know you've achieved the healthy levels of water-intake your body needs.

This article is courtesy of Alan Gordon

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