Swelling of the abdomen and ankles is often caused by fluid retention (oedema) and is usually a symptom, not a disease or disorder. Long-term swelling is often an indicator of a more serious health problem. Oedema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in the body's tissues and can cause swelling in the ankles and abdomen as well as hands, arms, legs and feet. Certain medications or pregnancy can cause symptoms like a swollen abdomen and ankles. It's best to identify and treat the underlying cause of the swelling in order to control it and then you can treat fluid retention at home.
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Reduce salt intake. Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain water, which results in swelling in areas like your abdomen and ankles.
Change your diet to eliminate possible food allergens. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center you might be allergic to dairy products (milk or cheese), wheat (gluten), soy, corn, food additives or chemicals. Check with your doctor who may want to test for food allergies.
Eat foods that are a good source of B vitamins such as dark leafy vegetables. Include natural diuretic foods in your diet such as asparagus, grapes, beets, pineapple, pumpkin and garlic.
Avoid eating refined foods like white bread, pasta and sugar and eat less red meats which can cause your body to store fluid and cause swelling in your abdomen and ankles. Opt instead for lean meat, tofu, fish or beans.
Strengthen and tone your body's systems with herbs which may help reduce abdominal and ankle swelling. The University Of Maryland Medical Center recommends herbs like bilberry, dandelion or grape seed extract to treat abdominal and ankle swelling. People with certain health conditions souldn't use some types of herbs. You should consult your physician before taking any herbal supplements.
Therapeutic massage might help drain excess bodily fluid. Also consider acupuncture which may improve fluid balance in your body.
Talk to your health care provider about medications that may help with abdominal and ankle swelling. He may prescribe diuretics which will reduce bodily fluids. Diuretics may deplete the body of important vitamins and minerals so he might suggest you take supplements to compensate for this. Your doctor may also recommend surgery to remove fat and fluid deposits if your swelling is associated with an oedema called lipedema. You may also require surgery to repair damaged veins or lymphatic glands which will aid in re-establishing lymph and blood flow. You should also visit your health care provider if the swelling is a chronic or long-term issue. He can test for more serious health issues like food allergies, kidney or liver disease, thyroid disease, low blood pressure or tumours.
Tips and warnings
- Fluid retention during pregnancy may signal toxaemia. Seek medical attention immediately since this is potentially dangerous for both you and your baby.
- Visit your doctor if you experience any swelling as it may be a symptom of a serious or potentially life- threatening illness.
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