What Medications Cause Water Retention?

Water retention occurs when excess fluids build up inside our bodies. It can cause swelling in the hands, feet, ankles and legs. It’s not a medical condition, but it could be a symptom of an underlying medical problem. In some cases, water retention occurs as a result of medication use.

Here are 5 common medications that may cause excess fluid build up:


This stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They reduce inflammation associated with injuries and musculoskeletal disorders. Common NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. They can cause fluid retention and swelling.

These reduce the joint pain and swelling associated with arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders. Examples of corticostereoids include methylprednisone, prednisone and cortisone. The water retention side effect may lead to water weight gain, as the drugs can increase the amount of fat on the body (leading to actual weight gain).

Birth Control Pills
Also known as oral contraceptives, birth control pills contain oestrogen and other hormones that may cause fluid retention and swelling. When it’s administered in high doses, oestrogen causes water retention because it stimulates renin-angiotensin (a substance produced by the kidney that signals the kidneys to eliminate less fluid).

These drugs help the body use insulin more effectively, and combats the effects of type 2 diabetes. Thiazolidinediones often causes water retention and swelling. Examples of thiazolidinedione drugs include rosiglitazone and pioglitazone.

Blood Pressure Drugs
Hypertension (or high blood pressure) makes the heart work harder to pump blood. This can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk for complications. Doctors treat high blood pressure with beta-blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers, diuretics, ACE inhibitors and more. Anytime the blood pressure decreases, the kidneys release an enzyme called renin, which signals the adrenal glands to release the hormone aldosterone, which in turn signals the kidneys to retain sodium, causing water retention and increased blood volume.

While there’s no guarantees, you may be able to reduce water retention with a few simple tricks.

  • Eat less salt. Decrease your sodium intake by eating less meals that are high in salt, such as processed foods.

  • Increase your magnesium intake. Good sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate and leafy green vegetables.

  • Increase your Vitamin B6 intake. They are important for the formation of red blood cells and have been shown to reduce water retention. Foods rich in Vitamin B6 include bananas, potatoes, walnuts and meat.

  • Eat more potassium-rich foods. Potassium appears to reduce water retention by decreasing sodium levels and increasing urine production. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, avocados and tomatoes.

  • Move around, elevate your feet, drink more water.

  • If you’re looking for a natural alternative to treat inflammatory issues with as arthritis, psoriasis and inflamed muscles – consider using pure emu oil. The essential fatty acids Omega 3, 6 & 9 are essential to good health. Emu oil has cholesterol lowering properties, and contains anti-oxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

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Always seek medical advice for water retention that does not improve on its own.


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