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Edema (Dropsy)

The accumulation of fluid in the tissue spaces can lead to a condition medically termed edema, this condition more commonly known as dropsy, leads to swelling in the spaces of the tissues fluid filters in and accumulates in the affected area. The muscles in the affected region of the body may start aching due to this accumulation of fluid, especially if the condition affects a particular area of the skin. Additionally the areas of the skin next to the swelling often becomes taut and shiny, this appearance of the skin is a very typical outward symptom of the condition. Because of the accumulation of fluid in the body during the condition, the patient often experiences an increase in weight by several pounds as the condition progresses. Bloating from the retention of fluid in the body can affect the entire body, even if the condition of edema in itself most common occurs in the areas around the feet and ankles of the person so affected.

Edema arises in a person because of a large variety of causes and factors, including genetic and biochemical predisposition to the condition. Normally any form of physical injury, inflammation in the body and many allergies affecting a person will lead to the appearance of edema. In addition, as far as women are concerned, hormonal imbalances during PMS leads to the typical symptoms of edema. These include symptoms such as the swelling of the ankles, the bloating of tissue and gain in weight, the same physical manifestations are brought about due to the utilization of birth control pills in some women, as such pills normally disturb the hormonal balance in the body. What happens at times in some women is that during the later stages of pregnancy, edema results with a lot of fluid retention in the body, accompanied by a high blood pressure, these are symptoms of a serious condition known as pre-eclampsia. If left untreated the condition can lead to the appearance of convulsions in the affected woman.

The condition of edema itself is caused and accompanies a wide range of metabolic and systemic diseases in the human body. Edema can be brought on by the utilization certain classes of high blood pressure medications, which are of the beta-adrenergic blocker type. The deficiency of protein in the diet can cause edema, as can blockage and varicose veins, other causes include obesity, many forms of liver disease can cause edema, certain types of thyroid disease can also cause edema. Many cardiac conditions and heart disease are accompanied by edema, as are kidney or pancreatitis disorders. Malfunctioning adrenal glands can also lead to the appearance of edema in an individual.

Maintaining a singular and motionless position of the body often overburdens the venous system and the weakened venous circulation can lead to swollen feet and ankles in the person. The chances of swelling in the tissues increases with the temperature and tissues are prone to swelling in excessive heat, bringing on the typical outward signs of edema.

An underlying heart disorder or disease often leads to water logging or edema in the legs and ankles that appears at the end of the day and fades away by morning. The retention of excess water due to some form of kidney disease leads to a permanent or persistent edema, typically developing and starting with a puffiness in the eyelids and the facial region of the affected individual. However puffy eyelids are quite normal in many people who are otherwise healthy and even if this symptom is often linked to kidney problems, it need not be always so, as a tendency towards puffed eyelids is normal in certain people, this is more so when waking in the morning. Abdominal edema can also come about due to the deficiency of protein in the diet, and or due to general malnutrition and in conditions such as liver cirrhosis. This is because besides many other functions in the body, the essential proteins are necessary for water retention in humans.

An underlying or delayed reaction from many forms of food allergies leads to the appearance of edema in a significant number of patients afflicted with the condition. To curb the tendency of the body to retain fluid, diuretics are sometimes prescribed to many women in treatments that can often last years on end. Hidden and unknown food allergies are often indicted by problems such as fluctuations in the body weight accompanied by fluid retention in the body. Chronic obesity and weight disorders in certain people might be alleviated thus by the simple expedient of alternating the dietary intake to reduce the level of the unknown allergic foods in the diet or to avoid them totally, this will lead to the elimination of the excess fluid excess and thus reduce weight. Though any and all kinds of food items can induce the retention of fluids in the bodies of susceptible persons, the most common culprits in this regard are dairy products, and products made from or containing wheat and other grains.

Supplements and herbs

It is advisable to carefully undergo medical examination for all forms of edema accompanying any form of heart or kidney disorders. The retention and accumulation of sodium, often compensated internally by increasing calcium and magnesium intake in the diet is the real culprit behind the retention of water. The excessive water in the tissues, especially caused during PMS, can be eliminated through the use of the vitamin B6 as a supplement. For ten days to two weeks before their menstrual periods, it is advisable for women to utilize a B6 supplement along with a vitamin B complex for ten days to two weeks as a way to prevent fluid retention in the body due to hormonal fluctuations.

Edema can also be caused by sluggish and impaired veins or lymphatic vessels, this can be alleviated through supplementation using the vitamin C along with plant based natural substances called bioflavonoids. These help stabilize and strengthen the cell walls and improve blood flow and lymph drainage in the afflicted person. Since the adrenal glands control levels of fluids and water in the body, supplements of vitamin C can be used as they assist the adrenals and boost its performance.

The herbal remedies given below can be used to increase the rate of urination and to boost circulation, helping to reduce the retained water, use them as instructed.

The lymphatic circulation in the body is stimulated and aided by the Common melilot. This herb can be used in the form of an herbal pillow on the affected and swollen areas or it can alternately be used as an external topical salve. Stimulating the renal activity can increase the levels of eliminated water; this is achieved through the use of the berries of the juniper plant. Dosage of these berries can be five dried juniper berries chewed carefully on the first day of treatment, followed by six on the second day and increasing this until the eleventh day, finally utilizing a total of fifteen berries. This increasing berry count must now be decreased steadily a berry less every day form the eleventh until the twenty-second day, again coming down to five berries as the treatment regimen ends. People with any sort of kidney inflammation must not use the juniper berries. To promote the rate of urination and to increase water removal, use can be made of diuretic herbs like the horsetail, the common parsley, the yarrow, the stinging nettle, and the watercress or even the leaves of the birch tree. These herbs can be made into a tea by the addition of a tsp. of herbs to a cup of boiling water, alternately if you prefer a single tbsp. of any of the juices of the herbs mentioned used on a daily basis can also suffice.

Homeopathy

It is advisable to consult and visit a qualified physician where the edema is persistent or is severe, the following homeopathic remedies can be utilized to alleviate and reduce symptoms of edema which are minor in occurrence.

  • Apis
    Apis is to be used as a homeopathic treatment option in those individuals afflicted with edema where there is a development of puffy swellings in the regions below the eyes or in the extremities such as the toes and the hands. Physical symptoms may include stinging sensations and the affected area is often tender and feels tight and numb when touched. The condition of the patient can greatly worsen if touched too much and or if exposed to warmth and warm conditions, the condition of the patient improves when immersed in cold soaks and if cold applications are used on the affected area of the skin. Other physical signs are the apparent dislike for water; the patient is not very thirsty most of the time. Psychological symptoms can include irritability and mood swings including surly behavior. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the utilization of Apis as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of edema in the affected individual.
  • Calcarea carb.
    Calcarea carb. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals who have developed edema and swelling in the tissues particularly around the knees and generally in the tissues anywhere in the region of the lower extremities. Physical symptoms manifested include an increase in the body weight and exhaustion and unexplained fatigue, the condition of the patient can greatly worsen even when undertaking minor and small physical exertions or movements in a sustained manner. These signs and symptoms are worsened if the person sits down, to prevent the worsening the legs often need to be supported on padding. Some of the other physical symptoms can include cold and clammy hands and feet-the feet can however become extremely hot during the nighttime. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the utilization of Calcarea carb. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the edema.
  • Ferrum met.
    Ferrum met. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of all individuals suffering from some form of edema especially where the physical symptom of swelling in the extremities occurs during or after some loss of fluid, these may include the loss of fluid accompanying hard physical activity leading to heavy perspiration or sweating or after injury leading to blood loss. The condition of the patient and the manifestation of the edema are slowly reduced when the patient carries out gentle and unhurried movements such as slow walking and avoids activities that are strenuous. The face of such patients is very readily flushed and the person may look healthy and unaffected, however, anemia and fatigue are very common in such patients and the appearance of the person is not indicative of the true state of the patient's health. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the utilization of Ferrum met. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of edema.
  • Graphites
    Graphites is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals with edema where the symptoms may include patients who are stout and are often prone to skin conditions along with the edema, the condition itself affects only lower extremities of the body leading to swollen tissues in the affected parts. Other physical symptoms include cracked skin behind the ears or on the fingertips of the patient. Other physical symptoms that may become apparent are the development or sudden appearance of lower-back or lumbar pain in the lower back and mental sluggishness when getting up in the mornings. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the use of Graphites as a homeopathic remedy in the immediate treatment of the edema of afflicted individual.
  • Kali carb.
    Kali carb. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from edema where the symptoms may include the swelling of the eyelids resulting in a "bag-like" appearance around the swollen region. Other conditions and symptoms that are observed include swelling in the lower extremities, which may simple be a single swollen foot at times, the soles of the feet of the patient become very sensitive to the touch and are greatly affected during the condition. The condition of the patient and most of the symptoms can be alleviated by gentle movements like slowly walking on a daily and regular basis. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the immediate utilization of Kali carb. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the person afflicted with edema.
  • Ledum
    Ledum is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals afflicted by edema where swelling and tenderness are observed in the ankles and soles of the feet, the swelling is generally confined to the lower extremities. The condition of the patient improves when immersed in cold soaks and when cold topical applications are applied to the afflicted area of the body; the condition of the patient can however worsen under warm conditions and weather. All types of disorders and swellings including physical injuries such as muscular sprains, the development of black eyes, or even serious puncture wounds and all kinds of insect bites, where swelling is the first symptom and where the condition is often relieved by cold, Ledum can be used for all such swellings. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the immediate utilization of Ledum as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the edema of afflicted individual.
  • Lycopodium
    Lycopodium is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from edema in which the symptoms of the condition may include digestive disorders and abdominal bloating in addition to the swelling in the various affected regions of the body. Other physical problems may be the sensation that one foot is warm, while the other is cold and in addition to this problem, there could also be present a feeling of numbness or heaviness in the extremities of the body. Towards the late afternoon and in the evenings the condition of the patient tends to deteriorate appreciably. Psychological feelings may include insecurity and a lack of confidence compounded in turn by extreme liking and a craving for sweets and warm drinks. The appearance of one or more of these symptoms requires the utilization of Lycopodium as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the edema afflicted individual.
  • Natrum mur.
    Natrum mur. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals affected by edema where the reaction to an allergy may cause the swelling of the tissues around the eyes, the treatment can also be used in treating persons in whom swollen tissues start to appear after becoming exposed to excessive sunlight. Other symptoms include extreme thirst and a craving for salt in the food; psychological signs like an outward show of calmness mixed with internal emotional turmoil may also appear. Fatigue and exhaustion along with persistent tiredness or illness often develops after becoming exposed to sunlight. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Natrum mur. as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of patients afflicted with edema.
  • Pulsatilla
    Pulsatilla is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals afflicted with edema where the symptoms may include swelling in the regions of the hands the knees and the ankles or feet, in general the swelling may affect all the areas of the extremities on the human body. Psychological symptoms often accompany these swellings; the person may suffer form a sensation of heaviness or weariness. Such symptoms encountered especially premenstrual or after a rich meal must be dealt with using Pulsatilla as a treatment option. The condition of the patient improves with warmth and warm weather and when undertaking gentle and slow movements. The condition of the patient may deteriorate if the extremities are allowed to hang down. Psychological symptoms include emotional fickleness; the person may become very moody and ill tempered. The person also is not often thirsty and greatly improves on exposure to fresh air in the outdoors. The appearance of one or any of these symptoms requires the use of Pulsatilla as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of edema afflicted patients.

Additional things you may do

The elimination of toxins and the promotion of lymphatic flow is improved and aided through regular and daily exercises preferably out of doors, deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help restore health and calm the nerves. Additionally stretching and walking out in the open exposed to fresh air has other benefits physically and mentally besides improving organic function. Other techniques that are recommended are daily and regular sessions of massages and lymph drainage conducted by a professional. The circulation in the body can be greatly improved through the utilization of hot and cold hydrotherapy techniques. Topical treatments and external application of salt packs, of the dry or moist variety has great benefits, and if it is applied to swollen ankles and other afflicted tissues, it will help in the elimination of excess fluids from those affected regions. Simply elevating the legs every hour or for half hour sessions two times a day can greatly help in the recovery and improvement of badly swollen ankles.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin A, 10,000 IU (avoid during pregnancy)
  • Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate, 50 mg, with a vitamin B complex, 50 mg of each
  • Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 3,000 mg
  • Magnesium, 500 mg
  • Calcium, 1,200 mg

Other beneficial herbs

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