Water Retention, Bloating, & Electrolytes: What’s the Deal?

Why do my pants feel snug sometimes?

I can’t wear my rings sometimes.

My weight fluctuates by 4lb in a day sometimes!

If you’ve ever thought these thoughts, you are not alone!

Water retention and fluid dynamics are impacted by myriad factors.

As someone who retains water quite easily, I’ve tried to understand (and mitigate) this. Sometimes, it’s inevitable.

Here are some reasons why the body’s fluid dynamics fluctuate frequently:

  • Salt/Sodium intake: high dietary sodium leads to more fluid retention
  • Potassium intake: low potassium intake (this mineral primarily comes from fruits and veggies) can lead to fluid retention
  • Late luteal phase: you may retain a bit more water in the week leading up to your period due to hormone change (and your tendencies around that time: like more salt, sugar, alcohol, etc.)
  • Period flow: physiological changes while you’re menstruating affects fluid dynamics
  • Sugar intake and insulin: more refined sugar, more problems (including water retention). Insulin also contributes to water retention (hello, fellow PCOS people).
  • Exercise: Resistance training especially can lead to water retention as muscles work + recover + repair
  • Constipation
  • Dietary fluctuations
  • Poor sleep or lack of sleep
  • Alcohol
  • Heat

There are many other factors that can impact whether you’re retaining water in your body or not.

Water retention can be quite volatile depending on who you are and what your life is like. There are some aspects we have a bit more control over (like alcohol, dietary salt, potassium, and sugar). Things like hormone-based fluctuations and responses to heat and exercise are very normal physiological processes that might be uncomfortable but not abnormal.

So, I encourage you to pay a bit  more attention to your fluid retention and see what you discover!