Edema is the medical term given to a condition that causes swelling in different parts of the body. This typically happens after trauma to the affected part of the body as well as inflammation. Edema often affects a small part of the body, but also has the capacity to affect the whole body. It is most noticeable when it affects the arms, feet, hands, ankles and legs. There are several factors that lead to edema. They include the use of certain medication, pregnancy-related complications or any underlying disease that affects major organs such as the heart, kidney or liver. In some cases, edema results after a surgical procedure, particularly if one is required to remain in one position for a long period of time.
In addition to the visible swelling, other symptoms of edema include puffiness of the skin, stretched skin that is often shiny than the rest of the body and dimpling that occurs when the skin is pressed in. It is important to mention that edema in itself, is not harmful, but the fact that it is often indicative of a serious underlying condition means that it is best checked by a medical professional. In addition to the medical treatment provided, there are simple home remedies that may be used as an adjunct treatment for the management of edema. In case of any doubt, it is advisable to consult a doctor on the way forward, especially in instances where the condition results from pre-existing conditions.
1.Epsom Salt Bath:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Cups of Epsom salt and warm bathwater.
One of the easiest ways to manage the swelling that comes with edema is to use an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts, which contain Magnesium and sulphate, are excellent in helping the body release excess fluids, thus helping to keep the swelling down. Additional benefits of using these salts include the ability to draw toxins from the body, reduction of inflammation as well as pain management. All that is required for this remedy is warm bathwater to soak in and, of course, the Epsom salts. Follow the simple directions below to get the best of this remedy.
- Place the 2 cups of Epsom salts in a basin and add warm bath water. Note that the amount of Epsom salt that you use is directly related to the extent of swelling. For a small area, you may consider reducing the amount of salts. The specifications listed in these directions are intended for edema that typically affects the whole body.
- Mix the two so that the salts dissolve.
- Proceed to soak in this mixture for some 20 minutes.
- Use this remedy up to thrice weekly until the swelling subsides.
2. Massage Sessions:
Time Required: 30 Min – 1 Hr
What You Need: Preferred massage oil (such as olive, coconut or jojoba oil) and a warm water bath.
Take on the advantages of massage sessions and enjoy the benefits of this simple method of treatment. Massage techniques are especially effective when done regularly in people who are predisposed to edema. The essence of the massage is to keep the swelling down while easing the pain and providing much needed relief from the discomfort.
It is recommended that you get professional massage services as these can easily be tailor-made to address the swelling. More importantly, these techniques help activate the lymph system and aid in the draining of excessive fluid in a natural manner. It is best to use oil to massage as this helps reduce the friction on the skin.
NOTE: If your edema is pregnancy-related, it helps to get the massage sessions from a masseuse who is specially trained in antenatal massage services.
- Place the oil in a bowl and proceed to put it in the water bath. This is an important step for the simple reason that it heats the oil indirectly and allows it to be absorbed by the skin faster.
- Additionally, this indirect heating maintains the structural integrity of the oil so that it is still as effective.
- Put some of the oil on the affected part of the body and gently massage in the oil.
- Do this at least once daily until the swelling goes down and the edema eases.
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of dandelion leaves, 1 cup of water and a strainer.
Dandelion is a natural home remedy whose benefits in the natural treatment of edema have been shown to be very effective for mild cases. At the core of this remedy is a herb with natural diuretic properties. A diuretic, by definition, is any substance that increases the amount of urine that the body produces. This is extremely helpful because increased urine production is one of the ways in which fluid is drained naturally.
In addition to this, dandelion also has a high concentration of potassium which helps counter the amount of sodium in the body. Sodium, as you may be well aware, is one of those mineral salts which, when in high concentration, cause the retention of water in the body. Increased water retention leads to edema, so by balancing out the sodium concentration, dandelion is able to treat edema naturally.
NOTE: The use of dandelion is not recommended for patients with a history of kidney and gallbladder conditions.
- Place a teaspoon of dandelion leaves in a cup of hot water.
- You may use fresh or dried dandelion leaves depending on what’s available.
- Let the leaves steep in the water for about 10 minutes.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer. You may add 1 teaspoon of honey to sweeten the remedy.
- Drink two cups of this dandelion tea daily as you monitor the progress made.
4. Tea Tree Oil:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Tea tree oil, a dropper and cotton wool. Carrier oil (optional).
Among the causes of edema, one of the most common is insect bites and stings. To get relief from the bites as well as help reduce the pain and inflammation on the affected site, use tea tree oil to manage the injury. The other benefit of using tea tree oil is that it has antiseptic properties that help reduce the risk of infection. Studies show that the presence of alpha terpinoel in the oil is key in the management of edema. Follow the simple steps outlined below for the natural treatment of edema arising from insect bites.
- Place a few drops of the tea tree oil on the cotton swab prior to application.
- You may add a carrier oil – such as olive, jojoba or avocado oil – if you have sensitive skin to prevent adverse reactions.
- Rub the wet cotton wool on the affected part of the body and rub it in.
- Rinse off the oil using warm water and use as often as needed until the swelling and pain is gone.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and 1 glass of warm water.
Apple cider vinegar, abbreviated ACV, is a perfect home remedy for the natural management of edema and accompanying symptoms. Its greatest selling point is that it aids in the removal of excess fluids from the body. This ability to reverse fluid retention means that regular use of ACV goes a long way in reducing the swelling. Add to this its anti-inflammatory properties, and it is easy to see why this is a popular home remedy for edema. Use the simple steps below to use this remedy.
- Add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Stir to mix well before drinking.
- Use this remedy twice daily until the edema subsides.
- Alternatively, use the ACV topically by soaking a clean washcloth in a mixture containing equal amounts of the warm water and the ACV. Wring the excess solution and proceed to wrap the wet washcloth on the affected part of the body.
- Do this severally daily, especially if the edema is localized, that is, it affects a small part of the body.
6. Active Lifestyle:
Time Required: Varies depending on the preferred activity.
What You Need: Appropriate gear.
As mentioned above, staying in one position over a period of time has been shown to predispose individuals to edema. In the same breath, those who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to get edema. One of the ways to keep this in check is to ensure that you lead an active lifestyle. Exercise and a range of physical activities not only help with fluid drainage, but also go a long way in reducing the intensity of the symptoms associated with edema. Below are some of the options you can choose from. Remember, if you suffer from any underlying conditions, it is always advisable that you seek medical advice from a medical doctor.
Tips on making exercise work in the management of edema:
- Target the muscles in the affected part of the body and make sure you move these as often as possible. This activates the lymphatic system and helps drain excess fluid.
- Brisk walking has also been shown to be effective in reducing the chances of getting edema. If you feel more enthusiastic, enjoy a 30-minute jog at least thrice weekly for its benefits.
- Other options include swimming and yoga.
7. Practical Tips to Keep Edema in Check:
In addition to the remedies listed above, there are a handful of practical tips to help manage the swelling. These include:
- Reduce the amount of dietary salt – there is no two ways about this! Increased levels of sodium in the body are a culprit of water retention, leading to fluid accumulation in the tissues. Ideally, experts recommend not more than 2300 mg of Sodium daily, but check with your doctor for clarification. Limit processed foods as these are usually high in sodium. It also helps to improve the taste of food using herbs instead of salt. Lastly, avoid adding salt directly to your food.
- Use a cold compress it keep the swelling down and ease the pain in the affected part of the body.
- Try and elevate the affected part of the body, preferred above the level of the heart if possible. This aids in fluid drainage and helps manage edema.
- You may also use compression stockings in cases where the edema affects the lower limbs. These essentially work by creating pressure so that there is no room for fluid to accumulate.
- Lastly, stay hydrated. It sounds ironic, but one of the ways to deal with water retention is to take adequate water. Contrary to popular belief, taking lots of water does not worsen the edema. When the body is dehydrated, it tends to retain water in the tissues. Adequate water on the other hand, allows the body to function optimally and prevents edema.
Remember to raise any concerns you may have with your doctor. Left unchecked, edema easily causes complications with adverse effects on the body. The remedies mentioned above may not work for everyone depending on particulars, so confirm with your doctor on the way forward.