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Water Retention | Causes, Signs & Home Remedies

Water Retention | Causes, Signs & Home Remedies

By Logan Berman

US Myprotein Writer


Our body is made up almost entirely of fluids, with water forming the base for all blood and plasma and other fluids in our body. A proper amount of fluids helps regulate our internal body temperature as well as help provide basic homeostasis within ourselves. However, it is also possible to end up consuming an abundance of water, which in turn can lead to a large accumulation or buildup of water or other fluid in our body cavities and cellular tissue.

Water retention can occur from an over-consumption of water versus too low of bodily fluid excretion on a regular basis. Our body is very complex and will usually dispose or excrete any extra water or fluid ingested in the form of either urine or sweat, in the case of an over consumption of water when compared to regular levels.

However, it’s also the opposite if we are lacking water, and there for our body will hold onto the water and prevent urination and sweating from occurring.

Reasons For Water Retention

the importance of water

Reason 1


One of the first reasons for water retention to occur is simply due to the lack of physical activity. The reason as to why physical activity helps with water retention and excretion in our body is due to the nature that when we exercise, we are not only increasing our heart rate, but we are also increasing our oxygen intake.

When we exercise with proper movement for a period of time while increasing oxygen levels to our heart and brain to function properly, our body will promote or increase the amount of blood flow within ourselves. When our blood is flowing properly, fluid/water will leave the blood cells or capillaries to help regulate water levels within ourselves.

This is why when you usually see someone who has been stuck in a state of physical inactivity, such as being in a hospital bed for many days or weeks, will look as if they have become swollen all over the body, due to the buildup of too much fluid while lacking adequate excretion levels.


Home Remedy 1 – Get Active!

Reason 2

Another reason for water retention being present is also possible due to an inadequate diet or malnutrition. If our diet isn’t in balance and we aren’t providing our body with the proper nutrients it needs to function, usually lacking either calcium or vitamin sources, our body levels will change drastically.

In the case of water retention, a diet lacking vitamin B1, otherwise known as Thiamine, can also lead to water retention within our body. Vitamin B1 is very important for our body because it is responsible for energy levels, heart health, muscular function and even brain health. Reasons for lacking thiamine can be as simple as an over consumption of alcohol with too little intake of water.


Home Remedy 2 – Improve your nutrient intake, especially vitamin B1

Reason 3


The last major reason for water retention is the simplest and easiest one to fix, and that is the issue with salt or sodium. The reason for why sodium is responsible for water retention, is due entirely to the issue with the polarity between H20 and NaCl (sodium).

Sodium has a strong charge that attracts water molecules to bind to it, which in turn leads to the body attracting or holding on to more water compared to normal, which leads to fluid retention within ourselves. With a large increase in sodium or salt in our body, it will cause our cells to expand in volume. When our cells expand in volume, they have area that is not filled with matter and it needs to be filled asap. This is where the water comes in.

gaining muscle mass

When the cells expand and more area is needed matter, water will enter into our cells to fill the new space, which leads to our body swelling up over time. If you’ve ever been on a strict diet and exercise routine and haven’t consumed any sodium in a while, you will notice that your body will begin to look leaner and more dried out.

After a period of lacking sodium, if you decided to out to eat for example and grab yourself a juicy burger and fries from a restaurant or fast food place, which is extremely high in sodium levels, you will usually notice after consuming such food, your body will have an increase in vascularity under the skin as well as a fast bloating sensation within the stomach.


Home Remedy 3 – Consume less sodium and exercising more frequently.

Takeaway Message

Water retention is not something everyone needs to worry about as the body will regulate our water levels naturally on a daily basis. However, if you plan on competing for a show in bodybuilding, it is important to track your sodium levels to prevent that bloated look of water build up in the body when stepping on stage to obtain a much more “dryer” look.

Everyday worries and issues can usually be rectified with some very simple fixes so your body is not holding onto water it doesn’t need.




Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

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Logan Berman

Logan Berman

Writer and expert

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