Worried you are retaining water during menopause? This week, I take a look at how menopause affects your water balance, five signs to look out for which can indicate that you are retaining water and simple ways to reduce water retention.
Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be taking a look at how the menopause can affect your water balance and signs to show that you may be experiencing water retention.
I'd had a lot of queries from women about water retention over the last few weeks, a lot of it to do with the hot weather we're experiencing. But this is quite a good one to be aware of, so I thought that I would go over things.
Water retention and menopause: what’s the connection?
It's mainly to do with your hormones. Oestrogen can impact on our sodium and our fluid balance. And, when you were having periods, very often, you would find you would get that little bit more bloated just before a period. So, the same thing is happening in the menopause.
Oestrogen can interfere with our water balance, whereas progesterone normally helps to keep everything under control. However, during menopause, as our hormones start to change, that fluctuation between oestrogen and progesterone throws everything out of balance.
A lot of women find that their water balance can change daily. You might find one morning you're fine, and the next morning, you wake up with, your ankles are swollen or your eyes are puffy, and you're wondering what on earth is going on. So, it's mainly to do with how our hormones fluctuate on a day-to-day basis.
Signs you are retaining water
There are several signs to look out for which can indicate that you are retaining water, these include:
1. Puffiness & swelling
The main signs of water retention are puffy eyes, especially just under the eyes, swollen feet and ankles.
2. Breast tenderness
You can also experience breast tenderness and you might find that your breast size goes up quite a lot. So, if you suddenly find that your breasts feel hard and sore, then that's a sign of water retention.
3. Bloating and weight gain
You might be one of these women that weigh yourself and think, "I've put on 5 pounds since last week. Why is this happening?" And very often, it's the fact that your water balance has started to change.
4. Brain fog
If we're dehydrated, if the body's storing water elsewhere, then that can affect our cognitive thinking.
5. Strong or very dark urine
If your body is holding on to as much water as it can, it's not going to let a drop go. And you might find, suddenly, that you're going to the toilet a lot less.
But when you do go, you're not passing a lot. And it may have a very, very strong smell and a very, very dark colour.
Simple ways to reduce water retention
So, what can you do about this? Thankfully, there are lots of simple things you can do to help reduce water retention, such as:
Watch your salt intake
The important thing here is to watch your salt intake because salty foods and salty snacks can immediately and very, very quickly cause the body to hold on to as much water as it can.
And the interesting thing here is if you are going for a meal, maybe at night, or you're out having a barbecue or a party and you're eating lots of salty snacks, your body will hold on to as much water as possible, and that can end up triggering night sweats and hot flushes.
Help to balance and increase your electrolytes
Electrolytes are certain vitamins and the minerals in the body that help to keep things in balance. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are important for so many things in the body. But between them, they help to control our fluid balance, too.
Again, with the really hot weather, it's important to up your water intake even more. If you are hydrated, your body is not going to hold on to water half so much. And, you know, it's one of these weird things. You think, "How can drinking water stop fluid retention?" But because your body knows it's getting enough, it will release the water that's stored in these places where you're retaining water.
Exercise is really important. If you get your muscles and lymph system moving, this can help to keep water retention at bay.
My Self-Care Tip: The best exercises to help reduce water retention
The best exercises to help reduce water retention are exercises that increase your heart rate. Watch my self-care video tip below to find out which exercises I recommend:
Manage your stress
Stress impacts our nervous system and our nervous system also has a part to play in fluid balance.
Please don't use diuretics because if you use diuretics, you're forcing the water out of the body. And the body then goes, "I need more," and it will try even harder to hold on to any water that you're taking in. And that can make you more dehydrated at a cellular level, and that can make your symptoms worse.
What to watch out for!
The one thing to be aware of is that swollen ankles and swollen feet can indicate other health issues such as high blood pressure and possibly, diabetes. So, if you've tried these tips and you find that they don't work and if you find that your swollen ankles tend to be there the whole time and don't go down at all, then, please, just get this checked out by your doctor.
So, I hope you find this one helpful. If any of you have any tips to help, we would love to hear about them.
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Hello lovely ladies, my name is Eileen and I have worked in the Education Department at A.Vogel for over 18 years, lecturing and advising on many health concerns via the Helpline, including the menopause and its dreaded symptoms.
My own personal experience of going through the menopause (and surviving it), which I regularly blog about, as well as that of hundreds of menopause women who ring the helpline or email me every day, allows me to offer my guidance, advice and sometimes just a much needed shoulder to cry on, to menopausal women all over the world.
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