Fluid Retention

Article by Angela Haldane

Q. During the summer months, I suffer from fluid retention which makes it very hard to fit in my shoes. How can I treat this naturally?

A. It is a good idea to do a fluid balance chart for 2 days to see if the same volume of water that you drink is also urinated out. If not, your kidneys may not be working very efficiently. This can be helped with herbal medicine or acupuncture, or your doctor may choose to prescribe diuretics and perform diagnostic tests to identify the cause. Your blood pressure should also be checked.

Sluggish circulation might be to blame, since it allows fluid to leak out of the capillary bed into the surrounding tissue. Again, herbal medicine – such as prickly ash, celery seed and dandelion leaf – can help with this. Dandelion leaf is a good diuretic and is a rich source of potassium to keep the electrolytes in the correct balance. I recommend that you see a registered medical herbalist for this such as Natural Ange Ltd or visit www.nzamh.org.nz to find one in your area.

You can also complete a mineral status questionnaire on this website (in the About section) to identify certain mineral deficiencies that can contribute to fluid retention.

When you sit, put your feet up on a stool and flex your ankles up and down to help fluid return through the veins and the lymphatics back to the heart.

Don’t eat too much salt and have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Exercise daily; a walk is ideal. Toned muscles in the calves help prevent fluid pooling in your ankles.