“Edema” is the medical term for swelling. Body parts swell from injury or inflammation. It can affect a small area or the entire body. Medications, pregnancy, infections, and many other medical problems can cause edema. Edema happens when your small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissues. That extra fluid builds up, which makes the tissue swell. It can happen almost anywhere in the body. (WebMD.com)
Swollen feet and ankles are the most common. Normally our bodies can eliminate this fluid but when it can’t there are many other things you can try. Often your doctor will prescribe a diuretic medication, also called water pills, which are medications designed to increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body as urine. Other things that can help are:
- Rest as much as possible with the swollen area elevated above the level of the heart.
- Reduce the amount of salt you consume.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day.
- Soak the area in Epsom salt.
- Compression therapy which involves wearing tight socks or garments that actually squeeze the excess fluids out of the edema affected areas of the body.
- Massage will help move the excess fluid out of the area to an area that can properly absorb it.
- Exercise will get the muscles moving and may help pump the fluid back towards the heart.
There are also many natural diuretics such as dandelion, hawthorn, horsetail, juniper, green and black tea, parsley and hibiscus. Eating more fruits and vegetables that act as diuretics may be another beneficial solution. These foods include watermelon, grapes, berries, celery, asparagus, onions, garlic and bell peppers. I love trying to find natural remedies before resorting to prescribed medications but it is always important to have a discussion with your doctor.
Massage is a highly effective way to help reduce swelling. The massage helps move the fluid around to get it out of the body. A gentle, soothing massage relaxes muscle tension and greatly improves circulation.