Most women will experience water retention at some point in their lives, and it can be a particularly frustrating part of the regular menstrual monthly cycle. Fortunately, there are some natural over-the-counter supplements that can help decrease bloating and prevent future flare-ups.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Start by taking vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Vitamin B6 in particular plays an important role in the body's use of hormones, including oestrogen and progesterone, and their effect on fluid retention in women. Look for a supplement that contains all the B vitamins, since they work better together than separately. Other vitamins and minerals to take include vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, manganese, evening primrose oil and calcium. Several studies have shown that women who took 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily experienced up to a 50 per cent reduction in bloating. Potassium is another important factor in reducing bloating and water retention. Sodium and potassium need to be in balance in the body, but far too many people consume too much sodium and not enough potassium. Make sure your supplements include a little extra potassium, but not too much, as large amounts from supplements can cause stomach irritation.
Check your local health-food store for dandelion leaf tea, which not only acts as a diuretic but contains potassium. Aim for 2-to-4 cups a day, but do not ingest this tea if you have kidney or heart problems. Celery seed is another natural diuretic, best taken as capsules or by making a tea using one cup of boiling water poured over one teaspoon of freshly crushed seeds. (Avoid using garden-packet seeds, as they've been treated with chemicals.) Ginkgo biloba, which strengthens the integrity of blood vessels, and bilberry, a gentle diuretic, can also be helpful.
Look for water-retention cures in your cupboard and refrigerator. Not only are they cheaper, but they're in the most basic, natural form and healthier for the body in general. Water is free and is nature's best diuretic of all; although it may seem like a paradox, drinking more water won't make you retain it, quite the opposite, so aim for at least eight glasses each day. By law, potassium supplements, mentioned above, can't contain more than 50 mg, but to help with water retention, you may need up to 5,000 mg. The best way to reach that amount is through food: potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, oranges, cantaloupe and spinach are all high in potassium. In general, all fresh fruits and vegetables---especially those naturally rich in water, such as watermelon, onion, celery and cucumbers---can make you urinate more frequently, helping to reduce water retention.