Let’s face it: being bloated feels awful. It makes you feel sick, uncomfortable and it leaves you wondering what in the world is going on with your body. Bloating occurs when water builds up in the body and the body holds too much of it, making you look and feel swollen. There are several different reasons why the body retains water. Identifying the source can help you better understand your body and eliminate the problem.
Here are five reasons why your body retains water, and how to avoid it:
1. Certain Medications
Some prescription medications cause water retention as a side effect. If you’re taking antidepressants, beta-blockers, blood pressure medication or over-the-counter NSAIDs, you may experience fluid retention and bloating. NSAIDs include aspirin and ibuprofen. If you believe your medication may be causing fluid retention, talk to your doctor about your prescription.
2. High Sodium Intake
The body needs sodium for several important functions, including regulating blood pressure and fluid levels in the body, but it only requires small amounts. If your diet is high in sodium, it can lead to water retention, bloating and weight gain. If you want to add some flavor to your food, try herbs and spices instead. Use garlic, cumin, oregano, sage or pepper to spice up your dish.
3. Heart Problems
A heart condition can cause fluid retention, most commonly in the legs, ankles, feet and the abdomen. Common symptoms of heart failure include fatigue, rapid heart rate, weakness, dizziness and shortness of breath. If you experience a combination of these symptoms, visit a health care professional.
Women often experience bloating and water retention during menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that play an important role in fluid retention. Estrogen levels that are too high or progesterone levels that are too low can cause the body to hold water. If you experience severe bloating around your menstrual cycle, see your OB/GYN to discuss possible options.
5. An Inactive Lifestyle
If your daily routine involves sitting or standing for long periods of time, you may notice water retention as a result. An inactive lifestyle can cause the body to hold fluid. You may also notice swollen legs or ankles. Be sure to keep your blood circulating throughout the day. If your job requires long periods of sitting, get up and take a walk whenever possible. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and add 15-30 minutes of exercise to your day.