Let’s face it: being bloated feels awful. It makes you feel sick and uncomfortable, and it leaves you wondering what in the world is going on with your body. Bloating occurs when your body retains water.

Water retention occurs when water builds up in the body and the body holds too much of it. This, in turn, makes 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. For example, if you’re taking antidepressants, beta-blockers, or blood pressure medication, you may experience fluid retention and bloating. Additionally, over-the-counter medications, like NSAIDs, may have the same effect. NSAIDs include aspirin and ibuprofen, both common pain relievers. If you believe your medication may be causing fluid retention, then talk to your doctor about your prescription.

2. High Sodium Intake

Yes, the body needs sodium for several important functions, including regulating blood pressure and fluid levels in the body, but it only requires small amounts. So a diet high in sodium 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. The Mediterranean Diet offers healthy choices.

3. Heart Problems

A heart condition can cause fluid retention, most commonly in the legs, ankles, feet, and abdomen. So it’s good to know other signs of heart disease, too. For example, 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.

4. Hormones

Women often experience bloating and water retention during menopause. Specifically, estrogen and progesterone are hormones that play an important role in fluid retention. If estrogen levels are too high or progesterone levels are too low, this can cause the body to hold water. And if you experience severe bloating around your menstrual cycle, see your OB/GYN to discuss possible options. As an alternative, try these foods to help balance your hormones, as well.

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. You see, an inactive lifestyle can cause the body to hold fluid. For example, you may also notice swollen legs or ankles. Therefore, be sure to keep your blood circulating throughout the day. So 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.

If your body retains water, learn about these possible reasons and try to bring your body back into balance.

Learn how to fix the problem below:

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