Is There a Cure for Edema?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

There are many different types of edema, but most think of this condition as water retention in the extremities, particularly the hands, feet and ankles. There is no specific cure for edema, which can be caused by many underlying conditions. Sometimes curing an underlying condition can relieve the edema. In other cases, the symptoms themselves can be effectively treated.

Pregnant women commonly experience edema.
Pregnant women commonly experience edema.

For example, it is not uncommon for women who are pregnant to have some edema in the feet and ankles. Normally, the cure for edema of this type is having a baby. Usually this ends any swelling problems.

People may experience edema as a result of taking certain medications.
People may experience edema as a result of taking certain medications.

For women who suffer from cyclical edema, which may first show up as fluid retention during menstruation, finding a cure for edema is much more difficult. Usually, diuretics like furosemide tend to reduce water retention. Lowering sodium in the diet may also be of help. Treatment may reduce symptoms but is not a cure. If one stopped taking medication, fluid retention would reassert itself. As well, some patients can experience a greater amount of fluid retention over time that is not adequately addressed by diuretics and reduced sodium diets.

The foot of a person with edema.
The foot of a person with edema.

Some conditions, like chronic irreversible heart failure, advanced kidney disease, and cirrhosis of the liver may cause chronic edema. When the underlying condition cannot be treated, fluid can collect not only in the extremities but also around the stomach, a condition called ascites. Ascites areas may be tapped to drain fluid and reduce overall swelling, but this is a temporary cure for edema.

When medical professionals can address the underlying causes of edema, then a cure may be possible. For example, a patient with compressed veins may have surgery that increases blood flow and stops edema. Early heart failure may be reversed through medication and lifestyle changes. This may result in less edema.

Even when an underlying condition can be treated, this may not result in a cure for edema. The tissues become used to fluid retention and are less resistant to extra fluid build up. In these cases, a cure may really mean treatment of continuing edema.

In many cases, however, treatment can significantly reduce symptoms. While treatment does not provide a cure, it can eliminate issues relating to the condition, and give patients greater comfort.

People with liver disease, like cirrhosis, may be more likely to develop swelling and edema.
People with liver disease, like cirrhosis, may be more likely to develop swelling and edema.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


Good to know I am not alone. I am a male in my teens and suffer from swelling on my left and right legs (calves included and the swelling is less on my right foot). I have tried everything the doctors tell me, but they see no problems with my kidney and no cause for the swelling. I have tried compression socks and stockings but they do not work. I need help to treat this illness.


My husband had a closed fixation of his severely comminuted displaced bilateral calcaneal fractures back in mid June after falling off the roof in early June. He has had weight bearing as tolerated status for nearly a month.

The swelling continues to be a big problem, not allowing much movement in the feet. He just started wearing a shoe after giving up the cam boots. It's a size 13W and he normally wears a 10 1/2. I'm wondering if the restriction from the shoes is causing the ankle to "blow out." He hasn't had swelling like this in the right foot ever. It was the left ankle that has subtalar joint issues and more than 50 percent loss of cartilage. Any suggestions for reducing the swelling?


lolita0311: Did you take (1) 300 mg of Q10? How many pills did you have to take to reach the 6,000 vitamin c and and what about the 400 mg. of B-100 vitamins?


some blood pressure drugs cause edema. mine is from Lotrel (or the generic which I now take). I wake up in the morning with perfectly normal ankles and calves but about three hours later they are quite swollen and stay that way the rest of the day. compression hose helps but is sometimes too hot, especially living in Florida. I don't know what else to do.


have acquired edema in right foot and ankle after calcaneus fracture 9 weeks ago. just now starting to be able to walk slightly. what is the reason for the edema? very healthy 42 year old. how do i rid myself of this?


i have edema in right foot & ankle since 5 years. am 26yrs old. it is increasing after prolonged standing. no pain. i did doppler study. in that no signs of dvt. what is the causes of this. what treatment i have to take for this. kindly give me a replay. thanking you minnu.


I had swollen legs and ankles, too. Co-enzyme Q10 (300 mg.), 6 grams of vitamin c (6,000), 400 mg. of B-100 vitamins, and a low-carb diet and the water came off. I also started feeling very energetic.


You may want to have your doctor check into Lymphedema. It's seen mainly in cancer victims that have had surgery and have had damage to their lymphnodes. However, those who have never had cancer can get it. There is primary and secondary Lymphedema. Many physicians aren't familiar with it though... You may need to have a physical therapist check you out for a proper diagnosis. Good luck!


i am 62 years old i have been through all checkups(ultra sound includes arteries,veins and all M.R.I upper and lower, dibetic, blood's tcc lcc, hemoblobin perfect etc etc) just because my feet and legs are swollen up. after all these checkups nothing has been detected please guide me what could be the reason for the swelling - I'm really freaked out.


Would compression socks help a person whom is unable to walk due to other medical conditions, who's feet are swollen, and is unable to raise the position of his feet.

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