5 Possible Causes of Water Retention

If you’ve ever experienced water retention, you’ve probably wondered why it was happening. There are various possible reasons that your body may be holding on to excess water, causing your weight to fluctuate or simply leaving you feeling slightly uncomfortable. Today we will review some of the top reasons why you may experience water retention. 

1. Electrolyte Imbalance

An electrolyte imbalance is a common cause of water retention. Too much sodium, especially in relation to other electrolytes, can cause immediate water retention. The body tries to maintain it’s sodium-to-water ratio in order to function properly, so it will hold on to water if too much sodium is consumed. This is a common cause of edema, which is the term for swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in the body’s tissues. If this is the reason you’re experiencing water retention, you can try limiting your sodium intake and making sure that you are consuming enough potassium. Finding the right balance of electrolytes is key. While sodium is an essential nutrient, consuming too much at one time leads to a higher probability of water retention.

2. Starting a New Workout Routine

If you’ve recently just started a new workout routine, this could lead to temporary water retention. The process is normal and nothing to be concerned about. There are a few reasons for this. First, glycogen is stored in your muscles and it gives you energy to fuel you during your workout. But your body stores glycogen in water, so the glycogen stored in your muscles can cause water retention. Also, the process of building muscle includes micro-tearing of the muscle fibers. The inflammation around the muscle fibers during the healing process can cause some water retention as well. This is more noticeable when starting a new workout routine, but in time your body will adapt and find it’s new normal. So in time, you’ll notice less of this water retention. Just make sure that you are adequately hydrating and replenishing your body of any lost electrolytes during your workouts. 

3. Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is another possible cause of water retention. Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes, so it’s important to make sure that your body is properly managing glucose and your cells aren’t resistant to insulin. Insulin tells the kidneys to hold on to sodium, which increases water retention. So even if you aren’t consuming an excess of sodium, water retention can happen when there is some level of insulin resistance happening in the body. 

4. Hormones 

If you’re a woman who notices water retention that correlates with your monthly cycle, hormones are probably the cause. While this may be uncomfortable, it’s nothing to be too concerned about if it ebbs and flows with your normal cycle. When your balance of estrogen to progesterone is changing during your cycle, it’s not uncommon to notice extra water retention. Estrogen plays a role in the kidneys’ system of maintaining proper water balance. Estrogen also has a direct impact on the mineralcorticoid hormone called aldosterone, which is essentially the master hormone of regulating fluid balance in the body. 

5. Medications

Some medications can cause fluid retention within the body. Some of these medications include, but are not limited to, corticosteroids, NSAIDs, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, and calcium channel blockers. If you suspect that a medication, whether prescription or over the counter, is causing water retention, we recommend speaking to your doctor about it. Never stop taking prescription medication without guidance from your doctor.

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