Peripheral Edema Symptoms and Natural Treatments

Peripheral edema is a condition that causes fluid to collect in the tissues around your joints, which can be painful and uncomfortable.

Peripheral edema is a condition that causes fluid to accumulate in the tissues around an injured or diseased area of the body. This can lead to pain, swelling, and other symptoms. There are many natural treatments for peripheral edema.

Did you realize that water makes up 55 to 60% of your body weight? Water moves from one part of your body to another. It maintains your tissues wet by being present both inside and outside of your cells. Water is also required for your bones, joints, spinal cord, and brain. However, too much water may build up in your tissues, resulting in arm and leg edema. Peripheral edema is the medical term for this condition. Several causes contribute to it, each with varying degrees of severity. Peripheral edema is just transitory in some individuals and will go away on its own. On the other hand, others are dealing with a significant — and occasionally life-threatening — health condition.

It’s essential to understand the differences between pitting and non-pitting edema, as well as the severity of each disease. It’s also beneficial to be aware that there are natural methods for reducing edema caused by water retention. Some plants have diuretic properties. Inflammation may be reduced with the use of essential oils. Dietary modifications may help you prevent an electrolyte imbalance by balancing salt levels in your body.

What Is Peripheral Edema?

Swelling in the arms and legs is known as peripheral edema. This occurs when fluid collects in your tissues, resulting in a heavy, bloated, and sometimes painful body region.

Your body works hard to keep the water levels in your cells at a healthy level. It maintains a natural equilibrium of water intake and loss. It helps to maintain a consistent level of water and electrolytes in the blood. However, various health problems or circumstances may cause an excessive amount of fluid to accumulate in the tissues, resulting in visible swelling. Because there is a more significant strain on your lower limbs, when the capillaries in your blood vessels begin to leak fluid into your tissues, this produces puffiness and skin tightness.

Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of peripheral edema vary depending on the etiology. The most common symptom is a swollen region straining the skin and feeling warm to the touch. You may have noticed that the swelling is affected by gravity. As a result, it may seem more severe than when the region is raised while standing.

Pitting and non-pitting edema are two different types of edema. Pitting edema occurs when you apply pressure to a swollen region and your finger leaves an indentation. Water retention is typically caused by too much salt in the body, standing or sitting for extended periods, or pressure from your body weight. However, when you push your finger into non-pitting edema, it does not leave a mark. This is a more severe ailment caused by heart, lung, liver, or renal problems.

The following are the most frequent indications and symptoms of peripheral edema:

  • a sensation of fullness or heaviness in your arm or leg
  • When you push on the region with your finger, it will expand and puff up, creating a dent (called “pitting”).
  • skin that is suffocating and sweltering
  • immobility or difficulty moving the afflicted area’s joints
  • Around the afflicted region, there is a lot of discomfort and stress.
  • a sensation of pressure around the afflicted region, which may be due to strain on your legs’ veins
  • when the swelled area’s shoes, clothes, or jewelry become too tight

Causes and Risk Factors

Edema may be caused by a variety of medical illnesses or circumstances. A mild episode of water retention may sometimes be the culprit. However, it may also be the consequence of a persistent, severe disease that requires urgent attention. The following is a list of potential peripheral edema causes and risk factors:

  • Water retention produces transient swelling in the hands, ankles, feet, and face as the body hangs on to or retains water in the tissues. For example, when you overeat salt, this may happen. The salt attracts and has water in the body. Water retention may also be induced by prolonged sitting or standing, as well as hormonal changes during a woman’s monthly period or pregnancy. The uterus exerts pressure on the main blood artery that returns blood from the legs to the heart when pregnant. Fluids may enter her tissues due to the pressure, producing edema in her legs, ankles, and feet.
  • Swelling in your legs may be caused by inflammation in your tissues. For example, allergies, trauma (such as a broken bone or sprained ankle), an infection or wound in the leg, arthritis, gout, or cellulitis may cause inflammation.
  • Certain medicines may induce edema by causing the body’s salt and water levels to become imbalanced or by contributing to renal failure. NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), insulin, steroid treatment, and blood pressure medications are among the medicines that may cause this problem.
  • Low protein levels in the blood: When there isn’t enough albumin (a protein produced by the liver) in your blood, fluid leaks out of your blood vessels more readily. Low protein levels in the blood may be caused by malnutrition or health problems that influence how much protein the body generates, such as liver and kidney illness.
  • Vein problems: Swollen ankles and feet occur when your veins cannot carry enough blood to the feet and then back to the heart, a condition known as venous insufficiency. Your legs fill with blood, pushing fluid out of your blood vessels and into the surrounding tissue. The most frequent cause of leg swelling in individuals over 50, particularly women. Edema is a symptom of thrombosis—a blood clot forms due to the sluggish flow of blood. Varicose veins may also induce peripheral edema. When blood accumulates in the legs or blood flow slows, this happens.
  • Kidney diseases: When your kidneys cannot eliminate enough salt and water from your body, pressure builds up in your blood vessels, causing peripheral edema.
  • Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body becomes too weak, causing blood to pool in front of the heart and pressure the veins. Fluid may leak into the surrounding tissue as a result of this. Swelling occurs in the legs or abdomen as a result of the leaking fluid.
  • Lung problems: When the pressure in your lungs and heart rises to dangerously high levels, as it may when your body reacts to certain medical illnesses, your legs and feet can swell. This may be caused by severe lung diseases such as emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis. It may also happen if you have congestive heart failure and your heart cannot pump the blood returning from your lungs. Because the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain all work together to maintain fluid levels in the body, hormones are often produced when one organ is required to work harder due to a medical condition. Pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. This implies that water accumulates in the lungs’ air sacs. As a result, breathing may be difficult due to pulmonary edema.

Edema in the lungs and belly, in addition to peripheral edema in the arms and legs, is a possibility. This kind of edema is called “non-pitting” since pressing on the swollen region with your finger does not create a pit or indentation. Other than the arms and legs, edema may occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Lymphedema is a condition in which the lymphatic system has been damaged, and the body cannot discharge fluids correctly. This may result in edema in the arms or legs that isn’t pitting. The lymphatic system may be disrupted following operations such as lymph node surgery, mastectomy, and radiation therapy. It may also be caused by obesity or venous insufficiency.
  • Ascites are a complication of liver illness. This indicates abdominal edema. Ascites develop when a liver disease, such as cirrhosis, causes protein levels to drop too low, causing congestion in the liver. This causes blood vessels to constrict, allowing fluids to leak into the belly.


The underlying cause determines treatment for peripheral edema. Doctors will conduct a comprehensive history and examination to determine the source of the swelling. To establish a diagnosis, they will also test your urine. Treatment will be determined by the underlying disease or problem causing fluid retention. For example, a doctor would suggest limiting salt consumption and prescribing diuretic treatment to reduce fluid retention.

Patients with heart failure are often given diuretics (such as Lasix) to alleviate peripheral edema. Although diuretics are occasionally required in an emergency, individuals who take them for a long time may grow reliant on them and suffer withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking them. In addition, chronic diuretic usage has been linked to potassium shortage and a reduction in blood volume in the blood vessels, according to research.

Diuretics are generally ineffective in individuals with non-pitting edema. Because non-pitting edema is challenging to treat, physicians often recommend elevating the legs and using compression stockings or gadgets to help decrease swelling.

7 Natural Treatments

1. Lower Your Sodium Consumption

Your kidneys strive to keep the quantity of salt in your body under control by excreting it via urine. Certain hormonal and physical factors play a role in this. The body retains salt when the kidneys aren’t functioning correctly, which may be related to renal disease or reduced blood flow owing to cardiac issues. Because water follows sodium in the body, retaining salt causes water retention and edema.

Those prone to peripheral edemas should avoid sodium-rich foods such as table salt, soy sauce, olives, ham, salami, and bacon. Sodium levels are high in many processed and packaged meals. Instead, consume more fresh vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Cooking more dishes at home also helps you manage the quantity of salt you use in your meals.

2. Get Up and About

Stay active and move about to maintain your body fluids flowing back to your heart during the day. Take regular breaks if you work at a desk for many hours a day or are on a lengthy trip. Then, get up and take a few steps around the room. Keep the circulation circulating in your legs to prevent fluid from pooling and causing edema. Aim to get up and exercise 5–8 times each day, even if just for 10 minutes each time.

The human body is made to move about. With so many of us sitting for up to 70% of our waking hours, we may develop severe health problems. A sedentary lifestyle may harm blood circulation. Swollen legs, ankles, and feet, as well as blood clots and discomfort, result from this. Don’t know how to keep yourself busy throughout the day? Try having a walking meeting at work instead of sitting in a conference room. Alternatively, instead of ordering delivery, you may pick up your lunch throughout the day. Standing workstations are increasingly becoming more common, and they may decrease edema in the lower extremities. You may also establish an evening routine that includes a brief stroll after supper and some stretching before retiring to your bed. It makes no difference how you move your body. Avoid sitting for long periods so that your blood may continue to circulate normally.

3. Consume (or ingest) parsley

Parsley is a natural diuretic that helps to reduce bloating and water retention. It increases renal urine output and removes excess water that may induce peripheral edema.

Making parsley tea is one of the most acceptable methods to utilize parsley as a natural and safe diuretic. Add a quarter cup of chopped parsley to one cup of boiling water to accomplish this. Allow 5 minutes for the tea to steep. Using a teaspoon of honey, strain the parsley leaves. You may drink parsley tea twice a day or whenever you’re experiencing water retention symptoms. Keep in mind that pregnant people should not use parsley tea since it is a powerful plant that may create problems. Add parsley to soups, salads, or even juices to alleviate moderate edema.

4. Indulge in a cup of Dandelion Tea

The root of the dandelion is a natural diuretic. It enables your liver to rid itself of toxins that may be causing inflammation. Fresh leaf dandelion extract produced a substantial increase in the frequency of urine in the five hours following the first and second doses, according to a 2009 research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. According to the findings, dandelion has the potential to be an efficient and natural diuretic for people.

You may purchase dandelion tea at your local health food shop to use as a diuretic to treat less severe instances of peripheral edema. You may also create your own. To develop dandelion tea, soak the root or petals in boiling water for 30 minutes. The dandelion is now ready to drink after straining. To ensure that you don’t have any negative responses, start with a bit of quantity.

5. Employ the use of essential oils

Because grapefruit and fennel essential oils are natural diuretics and anti-inflammatory, they assist in decreasing water retention. Both oils may be used to improve blood circulation and reduce swelling caused by peripheral edema.

Grapefruit essential oil helps to reduce fluid retention by stimulating the lymphatic system. It aids in the removal of toxins and waste that may cause bloating and irritation. It also improves blood flow, which reduces fluid retention in the legs and relieves joint stiffness and pains caused by standing or sitting in the same posture for an extended period. Mix 3–4 drops of grapefruit oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to alleviate the symptoms of peripheral edema. Incorporate the mixture into the afflicted region by massaging it in. You may repeat this procedure 2–3 times each day until the edema has subsided.

Fennel oil also aids in the reduction of inflammation and the removal of toxins that produce edema. It also has diuretic effects and may be used locally or orally to alleviate the symptoms of peripheral edema. Add 1–2 drops of essential fennel oil to a cup of warm water or herbal tea (like chamomile). Alternatively, mix 3–4 drops fennel with 1 teaspoon carrier oil and massage onto the afflicted region.

6. Schedule a massage

A moderate massage that encourages blood flow to your heart may assist relieve strain on your blood vessels, which can lead to edema. In addition, massage treatment is suggested for edema induced by water retention that is not too severe. Foot massages were shown to be effective in reducing lower leg edema in late pregnancy, according to research published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice. The research included eighty pregnant women. Half of them got a 20-minute foot massage every day for five days. After five days of massage, the experimental group had a substantially lower leg circumference than the control group, which did not get any message.

7. Raise the Affected Area to a Higher Level

To alleviate pressure and decrease water retention in your legs, consider elevating the afflicted region a few times a day. This may be beneficial after a long day at work, especially if you’ve been sitting or standing in the same posture for a long time. This may also be quite beneficial for pregnant women who have swollen legs, ankles, or feet. For 15–30 minutes at a time, place one or two cushions beneath your feet.


Lower extremities edema may sometimes indicate a pulmonary blood clot or a severe cardiac problem. Seek medical help right away if you have peripheral edema and symptoms like chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or dizziness. However, if your peripheral edema appears abruptly and out of nowhere, or if it’s the consequence of an injury to your arm or leg, you should get treatment from your doctor.

If you’re pregnant and wish to treat your peripheral edema naturally, talk to your doctor before taking any herbal therapies. And only get a massage from a prenatal massage therapist that is licensed.

Last Words

  • Swelling in the arms and legs is known as peripheral edema. This occurs when fluid collects in your tissues, resulting in a heavy, bloated, and sometimes painful body region.
  • The symptoms of peripheral edema vary depending on the etiology. However, the most common symptom is a swollen region that strains the skin and feels warm to the touch.
  • Edema may be caused by a variety of medical illnesses or circumstances. A mild episode of water retention may sometimes be the culprit. However, it may also be the consequence of a persistent, severe disease that requires urgent attention. Water retention from too much salt, being sedentary for extended periods, or hormonal changes from PMS or pregnancy are the most common causes of peripheral edema. In addition, you may get edemas more often if you are overweight or use certain medicines.
  • Water retention may be reduced by using natural diuretics like parsley and dandelion. In addition, limiting salt intake, keeping active, having a massage, and elevating the affected region may all be beneficial.
  • Natural diuretics such as grapefruit and fennel essential oils may help to decrease inflammation, improve circulation, and relieve water retention.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you treat peripheral edema naturally?

A: 1. Elevate your legs (or arms) above the level of your heart a few times a day.

2. Exercise.

3. If you have to sit or stand a lot, take breaks to move around.

4. Wear compression stockings on the affected legs if your doctor recommends this.

5. Reduce your intake of salt.

How can I get rid of fluid in my legs naturally?

A: There are a few natural remedies you can use to help cleanse your body of fluid. For example, you can try drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, and using a salt bath.

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