As women enter menopause, nearly 90% will gain weight from a shift in hormones. Women tend to retain water weight during peri-menopause and menopause because of hormonal fluctuation.
Some of this weight is just appearance-based due to water retention and bloating from decreased progesterone levels. While this isn’t fat-related weight gain, many women will notice a change in the way their clothes fit and experience the feeling of being heavier.
What is Water Retention?
Water retention, in medical terms, is known as edema. This is a condition that results when water leaks into the body tissues from the blood. In normal circumstances, the fluid is drained from the body tissues through the lymphatic system – a network of tubes throughout the body that removes waste and extraneous material, and empties it back into the bloodstream.
Although menopause is one of the reasons why women experience water retention, there are a number of other reasons. The fact that the body is holding on to water, can signal the fact that it thinks that it is not getting enough water in order to function properly.
The CONFLICTING Response to Menopause Water Retention
Some believe that since your body isn’t releasing enough water, the first thing that should be done is to increase the amount of water that you are drinking daily. Most people are going to tell you to reduce the amount of salt that you are taking, and this may help to a certain extent but there is something important you need to understand about salt and drinking water.Too much salt without enough water is going to cause problems with water retention.
Too much water without enough salt is going to cause another problem, a reduction in the vitamins and minerals that are contained inside of your body.
Menopauseatoz.com explains that water retention during menopause is generally not due to some serious underlying condition but simply because the kidneys get tired of working so hard and, alas, fluid is retained. Contrary to popular medical advice that you should drink lots of fluids, a menopausal woman might want to cut back on her fluid intake and see if that helps eliminate some of her water weight gain. However, if you notice that your hands, fingers, feet and ankles are swelling consistently, something other than simple water weight gain might be going on. If you press down on your skin and it remains dented afterward this may indicate edema and you should check with your physician.
In order for you to get rid of the water retention that you are experiencing and to kick your health level up a notch or two, you need to fully hydrate your body. The way that you do this is by drinking half of your body weight every day in ounces of water. You should also be taking a pinch of natural sea salt every time you drink a glass of water. If you do this every day, you will begin to notice a difference in the amount of water that you are retaining.
5 Causes of Water Retention
High blood pressure and water retention go hand in hand, as hypertension can result from too much fluid in normal blood vessels or from normal fluid in narrow blood vessels. Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels, and if it remains high over time is called hypertension. It is therefore very important to manage fluid levels, which can affect blood pressure
Our body is supposed to be full of water. The cells in our body consist of, and are surrounded by, water. That’s normal. Water levels are regulated by our kidneys, hormones and sodium. If you have too much sodium in your body, water is drawn from the cells to try and dilute the sodium, which makes the blood saltier. When this happens, an individual gets thirsty and drinks more fluid, which makes the likelihood of retaining water even greater.
Thyroid disease is often overlooked during menopause. Many women suffer from thyroid disease and the symptoms that are described are usually associated with menopause. After extensive research I found this information from menopauseatoz.com to be extremely helpful in understanding thyroid and menopause along with its association to menopause and its possible connection to weight gain and water retention:
Although most Women know the long list of symptoms associated with menopause, one that stumps most is thyroid and menopause. Considering that at the end of 2011 an estimated 50 million women in the United States will have reached menopausal years, or 18% of the total population, it is no wonder there are so many concerns and questions. In this article however, we wanted to address thyroid and the way in which it relates to the change of life so you will have important answers to important questions.
When you consider thyroid and menopause, you have two main issues to consider. First, the symptoms of thyroid disease and menopause are many times almost identical. For this reason, many women will go through menopause also having problems with the thyroid and never even know it. Second, thyroid disease can actually manifest much worse during menopausal years because of change of hormone levels.
As mentioned, millions of women are currently struggling through menopause. However, some are experiencing mysterious symptoms believed related to this phase of life. In fact, these women will take all types of medication, hormone replacement therapy, and natural remedies trying to shake the symptom. Now, if the “mysterious symptom” is actually connected to thyroid and menopause, then no amount of menopausal medication will help.
The problem is that symptoms of thyroid disease are just too close to menopausal symptoms, which is why they are often overlooked. For instance, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, and depression are often associated with thyroid disease but they are also associated with menopause. What makes this so bad is that studies show just one in four women who have gone to the doctor to talk about menopause symptoms were told they should be tested for thyroid disease. Making matters worse, approximately 35% of all women over the age of 40 never even went to the doctor for menopause, meaning they could be suffering from thyroid instead of or in addition to menopause and not have any idea.
Lets break the thyroid and menopause problem down. Menopause usually begins between the ages of 45 and 52, although women can experience symptoms much earlier. With thyroid, symptoms usually show up between ages 35 and 65. With menopause, women would experience specific things like poor memory, exhaustion, mood swings, change in skin and hair, anxiety, sex drive, sleep pattern, heart palpitations, and so on, the same with thyroid disease. As you can see, when it comes to thyroid and menopause, the symptoms are simply too close to call.
Just as there are similarities, thyroid and menopause have differences as well. As an example, during menopause, symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness would not likely be seen in menopause. On the other hand, with thyroid, you might experience neck pain, edema of the arms and legs, loss of eyebrow or eyelash hair, visual disturbances, and extreme weight change, all symptoms not associated with the change of life. Speak with your physician about the different blood tests that can be done.
As far as thyroid symptoms worsening during menopause, this too is important to understand. What happens is that thyroid hormones thrive in a very, complex hormonal environment, which involves the pituitary and adrenal glands, pancreas, and ovaries. The problem is that understanding how all of these work together is still unknown. Since the combination of thyroid and menopause seem to make everything worse, it is recommended to have your thyroid checked.
Keep in mind that thyroid problems can also lead to peri-menopause in younger women because it is related to the reproductive system in two ways. First, thyroid hormones help to regulate metabolism that is believed to help burn off calories. Second, thyroid hormones are similar to certain metabolites of estrogen and progesterone, and serves as receptor sites for thyroid uptake.
Remember, when it comes to thyroid and menopause, it is all about perfect balance. Obviously, symptoms in both cases in both cases are not pleasant but you have multiple choices to help with thyroid and with menopause.
3. Estrogen Sources
It is definitely a challenge not to gain weight during peri-menopause and menopause because a woman’s hormones are constantly fluctuating. Hormones and weight gain go hand in hand, unfortunately, according to Bodylogic.md.com, estrogen levels fall during menopause. When this happens, a woman’s body tries to find another source of estrogen and it does.
Progesterone, the other pivotal female hormone declines during menopause. Lack of progesterone doesn’t make you gain weight, but it does make you retain water and feel and look bloated.
5. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Another common problem is that menopause water retention can be caused from hormone replacement therapy. Since recent studies show that this form of therapy is dangerous, often leading to various forms of cancer, most doctors will recommend hormone replacement therapy be stopped. Remember, while skipping high salt intake, avoiding junk food, getting more exercise in the form of walking, tennis, bicycling, or elevating your feet for a few minutes are all excellent methods for helping with menopause water retention, there are cases when this could be a sign of something more serious. Therefore, use good judgment and if you have any concerns whatsoever, talk to your doctor.
Water Retention Remedies That Can Help
*While some women choose DIURETICS (a prescribed medication such as Lasix) to reduce the amount of water retained, it may decrease your blood pressure, cause you to feel dizzy or even have syncope (fainting) and or dehydrate you. Follow your physician’s instructions carefully and go for regular checkups.
It may be best to address the root cause of water retention rather than relying on diuretics, which only provide temporary relief and may create lasting health problems.
While it may seem counterproductive, to some, drinking water helps water move through the kidneys and bladder, diluting the urine. Since urine has some fluid-retaining salt in it, the more it’s diluted, the easier it is to remove salt and prevent or decrease edema.
Calcium supplements, according to a study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Center, North Dakota (1992) have been found to be helpful in reducing water retention.
In this study it was determined that women who took calcium supplements each day retained less water. Calcium has also been shown to reduce bloating and breast tenderness. Ask your doctor if a calcium supplement is right for you.
8 Natural Water Retention Remedies
1. Reduce water retention with lemon water. Squeeze a lemon into your drinking water. Lemon juice improves kidney function, which will help to eliminate excess water in your body. It also stimulates your liver to produce bile, which improves digestion. Additionally, lemon juice is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as contains antibacterial properties.
2. Limit caffeine and alcohol, and follow a healthy lifestyle.
3. Exercise can help relieve the body of excess fluid and salt through sweating, increased respiration and, ultimately, increased urine flow.
4. Treat water retention with fruit. Have a piece of watermelon if you feel bloated. Watermelon is rich in minerals, such as potassium and magnesium and is a good source of vitamin A and C, as well as B1and B6.
Pineapple can help with water retention. It has a rich content of vitamins and minerals. It helps with digestion and plays an important role in relieving excessive inflammation.
Other fruits that relieve water retention include cranberries, strawberries, and juniper berries, mangoes, melons, kiwi and grapes.
5. Eat vegetables such as cabbage, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, Swiss chard and artichokes, onion, eggplant, dandelion, ginger, cilantro, parsley, alfalfa and juniper. They possess natural diuretic properties.
Herbs such as hawthorn, corn silk, and parsley are used as diuretics in natural medicine.
6. Treat water retention with herbal teas such as chamomile.
7. Include fiber in your diet. Fiber prevents constipation and draws water out of your system. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains prevents constipation and gets rid of access fluids. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.
8. Drink water to relieve water retention. People often avoid drinking water to prevent the body from retaining more fluids. However, they are defeating their purpose. If the body becomes dehydrated, it goes into survival mode, which causes it to retain more fluids. Drinking the recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water daily will move the body to get rid of excess fluids.
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