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  • Writer's pictureKym at pip nutrition

Bloated? It could be water retention

I share common causes of water retention with Women's Health magazine, and explain how to deal.

I talked to Women's Health magazine about common causes of water retention. Read the full article here.

1. Your 'healthy' lifestyle is a little off

When was the last time you made every meal in the week from scratch? Be honest. If you are regularly hitting that target – kudos to you. But for most of you, chances are, a sneaky vegan ready made meal or takeaway creeps its way in. Convenience foods are a godsend. But the salt they contain can make your body hang onto water to maintain a balance in your cells: hence that bloated face in the mirror. And you all know that white refined carbs make your blood sugar levels spike, which causes a speedy release of insulin. But too much insulin can also trigger your kidneys to re-absorb salt, causing your body to hold onto even more fluid.

Should I visit my doctor for this water retention?

Yes. A high-salt diet can increase your chances of high blood pressure and chronic water retention, which, over time could lead to kidney and heart disease. Lang suggests swapping in complex carbs and eating small meals across the day to keep blood sugar levels stable. And going easy on the salt. Boost flavour with herbs, spices and citrus.

2. It's almost your time of the month

Water retention in your period is normal. Many women will notice water retention in the two weeks leading up to their period. You’ve those pesky hormones oestrogen and progesterone to thank for that. Their changing levels, around the time of ovulation, control how much water your body retains. Everyone's hormone levels are different and this is why some of us puff out each month, like clockwork, whereas others might experience a little bit of mild bloating, now and then.

Should I visit my doctor for this water retention?

No. Period-related fluid retention will gradually disperse once your hormone levels change again and you start your period. I suggest reducing your salt intake and supping your magnesium in the run-up to your period to alleviate symptoms, and, when your period starts, drinking plenty of water to support your kidneys and encourage them to flush out more liquid.

3. You use a hormonal contraception

It may help keep you regular but chances are that pill your on is also responsible for your monthly bloat.

Should I visit my doctor for this water retention?

No. It’s just a bit of a nuisance. Fill up on foods containing vitamin B6, which are thought to help reduce water retention – a bowl of porridge topped with a banana should get you off to a flying start. Then when your period strikes, switch to a low-bloat bowl of Bircher muesli, instead.

4. You're pregnant

Who hasn’t heard a pregnant friend complain about swelling in their legs and ankles during pregnancy? Water retention during pregnancy is perfectly normal. It helps your body to soften and expand as your baby grows.

Should I visit my doctor for this water retention?

Not really, but take it as a warning sign to elevate those legs when you’re sitting down or sleeping, or to go for a gentle swim.

5. You're showing symptoms of menopause

Hormone levels fluctuate dramatically around the time of the peri-menopause, making fluid retention more likely and more frequent. You’re even more susceptible if you experienced water retention or other PMS symptoms when you were younger.

Should I visit my doctor for this water retention?

If you’re showing other menopause symptoms, then it’s worth getting checked out as there are treatments available.

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