Written by Erin Dresser
Is Water Retention Caused by Perimenopause?
Perimenopause, which is a transitional period in a woman’s life in which her body begins to reduce the production of the female reproductive hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone, brings a whole slew of fun symptoms for women to experience. The reduction of estrogen and progesterone can lead to hormonal changes and imbalances and affect many of the body’s systems.
Water retention, which can appear as swollen hands and feet, bloating, weight gain, breast tenderness, and overall puffiness, particularly in the face, is the excessive buildup of fluid in the body’s tissues, ultimately leading to the swelling and bloating experience.
Estrogen is a key hormone in maintaining healthy blood vessels, regular kidney function, and optimal fluid balance. With the decline in estrogen production during perimenopause, you may start to notice extra water retention. This could be due to the decrease in vascular tone and increase in capillary permeability.
Other factors that can affect water retention include diet and lifestyle factors, such as excessive salt intake, high-stress levels, or a lack of regular physical activity. Additionally, some medications may also lead to water retention, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT), antidepressants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
While not all women will experience water retention, those that do will experience varying severities. The severity of water retention can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life and lead to both physical and emotional discomfort, including pain or discomfort that potentially affects daily activities as well as feelings of self-consciousness and reduced self-esteem, ultimately affecting overall wellbeing.
How Do I Manage Water Retention?
There are several ways to help reduce water retention and improve fluid flow in your body. Some lifestyle modifications include adopting a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, engaging in regular physical activity, some medical interventions, and self care techniques, such as getting adequate sleep, managing stress, and alternative medicines can help decrease water retention, improve overall circulation, and increase general health and wellness.
There are several dietary considerations that you can incorporate to help decrease water retention. Consuming a balanced diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help decrease water retention.
Additionally, avoiding excessive salt intake, processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol can also help alleviate water retention. Instead, consume potassium-rich foods, such as bananas and leafy greens, and drink plenty of water to improve and maintain fluid balance.
Participating in regular physical activity is essential for proper fluid balance and circulation. Cardio, strength training, and yoga are all excellent ways to improve circulation, decrease fluid retention, and maintain overall health and wellness during perimenopause.
Additionally, try engaging in actions that promote lymphatic drainage, such as massages, dry brushing, or gua sha techniques. These activities can help improve circulation and reduce puffiness.
If water retention is severe, you should consult with your healthcare provider. They may recommend specific medical interventions, such as diuretics or certain hormone therapies, such as birth control pills or HRT, to help alleviate water retention symptoms. Additionally, your healthcare provider can provide tailored recommendations and continued support throughout perimenopause.
Mindfulness and Self-Care
While self care is important for overall health and wellness throughout the lifecycle, ensuring you are engaging in intentional self care during perimenopause is essential for symptom management and quality of life.
One important aspect of self care is engaging in stress management techniques. Stress can exacerbate perimenopause symptoms by further disrupting the hormonal imbalances in the body. Some key stress reduction methods include yoga, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness.
Another key self care aspect of health, particularly during perimenopause, is ensuring you are getting adequate amounts and quality of sleep.
Tips for improving sleep include engaging in stress management techniques, creating and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, establishing a calming wind-down and bedtime routine, and creating an environment to promote sleep, such as a cool, dark room, no screens, silent or quiet noise, etc.
Engaging in gentle stretching or calming yoga flows, taking a warm bath, or using aromatherapy can help promote a relaxing environment to promote sleep and reduce stress.
Finally, seeking alternative medicines, such as massage therapy, acupuncture or acupressure, or ayurveda may help alleviate perimenopause symptoms.
These alternative medicines serve as excellent complements to all of the aforementioned methods to help manage perimenopause symptoms, including water retention. Some of these providers offer specific lymphatic drainage therapies that can help improve circulation and reduce water retention.
What is essential is to remember that perimenopause is a time of transition when your body is going through many internal changes, which will affect your overall physical and mental health.
Ensuring that you actively engage in self care and giving yourself compassion during this journey can go a long way in improving your quality of life during this transitional period.
It’s Okay to Seek Support if You Need It
Seeking support from family, friends, loved ones, and healthcare professionals who specialize in perimenopause and menopause can significantly improve your overall wellness. Healthcare professionals can also provide personalized recommendations and support throughout your transition.
Incorporating a healthy diet, regular physical activity, self care, and professional guidance can help alleviate symptoms and reduce water retention.
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