Fluid Retention

Article by: Beverley Hawkins EOT RA

Essential Oil and Fluid Retention
fluid retentionFluid retention, or as it is known medically edema, is the result of a buildup of water in the body’s tissues which causes swelling and puffiness. There are many reasons why this can occur. Sometime the underlying cause can be more serious such as heart disease, while at other times this quite common could be the result of a sprain, jet lag, pregnancy, PMS or obesity.

The body consists of approximately 60% water and an average body has around 40 litres of water to be distributed. When the body is in a healthy state around 3 litres of this water is to be found in the blood; 25 litres of this water is to be found in the cells of the body with the final 12 litres found in the lymph that baths the cells.

There are three mechanisms that cause the water to move between the blood and the lymph:

  • The pressure of the pumping of the heart will cause water in the blood in the capillaries to pass across into the lymph when that pressure reaches the capillaries.
  • The level of protein present in the blood will cause the water to be drawn into the blood from the lymph.
  • Water will also be drawn out from the blood into the lymph by the level of salt present in the lymph.

When any of these mechanisms are out of balance the result is that the water levels in the body become unbalanced with an excess of water in the lymph causing swelling and puffiness. Should the capillaries become damaged as might be the case in surgery or an injury, they are unable to maintain the correct balance of water flow which results in the tissue swelling as the excess is unable to pass back into the blood.

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