what could possibly cause severe non-pregnancy related edema? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 03-24-2011, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Please forgive me, I did search but everything edema related seems to also be pregnancy related.  I am really struggling with this.  I've been to a doctor who is a biochemist,pharmacist, natural/holistic focus.  He determined I have 40+ lbs of excess water at an intracellular level.  He said it was because my body has too many toxins in it and the cells are trying to dilute them by holding on to extra water.  I do believe this because way back when my traditional doctor put me on a diuretic and it made me so sick I couldn't even stand up, my husband had to take a week off of work even after I stopped taking the rx.  New doc says that was because all it left me with was the toxins.  Makes sense I suppose.  I've had this problem for almost 6 years, the onset was about 4 months PP with my 2nd child and I was exposed to a large amount of mold and other toxins while dealing with a hurricane and rebuilding.  I have not ruled out in my mind that this edema could be caused by something else entirely though either.


But here is where I am struggling....we have tried everything they can think of to get it off and nothing works.  Well, it will work for 2-3 days tops and then it all comes back again.  We've tried so many things and at this point I just don't know where else to turn or what to do.  Both the doctor I see now and one of his associates who does Chinese medicine aren't sure what to tell me to do next....I seem to be stumping them.  I'm thinking my next step will be to a different doctor to do bloodwork and start chiropractic care (appt set for next week actually).  I would love any type of input or advice and just any idea at this point.  Here is what we've tried so far....


  • Exercise 5 times per week combined with infared sauna treatments at 165 degrees (I didn't sweat during any of this for the first 2 months - it was miserable.)  I do sweat now but not as much as I should...
  • Added supplement yarrow to help induce sweating
  • Methyl B12/Folate/Vitamin D compound for methylation & detox
  • Alphalfa to help with sweating and water reduction
  • Omega 3/6/9 for blood cleansing
  • Poria 5 Formula (chinese - opens water pathways)
  • Glutathione for free radical reduction
  • Trace Minerals / Daily Vitamins
  • Super Greens for anti-oxidants
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Ginger baths
  • Iodine
  • Adrenal rebuild
  • 3 different liver detoxes
  • Colon cleanse
  • 3 weeks of a full body cleanse
  • Various teas for kidney support and water reduction


I have also taken:


  • Spirulina
  • Gotu Kola
  • Various Probiotics


Is there anything obvious I could be missing.  Candida?  Allergies?  Something totally random?  I feel like this is affecting my health in such a huge way....I've been dealing with it for 6 years almost and fighting it hard for going on 8 months now with little to no progress.


Thanks for taking the time to read =)



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#2 of 10 Old 03-25-2011, 05:49 AM
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medicinenet dot com/edema has 9 pages of information describing edema and the causes.  Have you seen a regular MD about it? 

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#3 of 10 Old 03-25-2011, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, thanks for replying.  Yes, I've read through all that.  I've been to 2 MD's.  One blew it off and the other gave me the Rx mentioned above that made me really sick.  I am hoping for a more holistic natural approach and I was hoping to find someone who had experienced this or heard of it before.  I made another appt with a holistic approach MD for next week but I don't have a lot of hope she can figure it out either....I seem to be stumping everyone and it is so frustrating, I just want to feel better.

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#4 of 10 Old 03-25-2011, 10:57 AM
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I don't have any answers, but wanted to offer a hug and empathy.


I have lymphatic system issues, as well, but am not nearly as far along the path as you are (and probably less severe, too). I had a series of manual lymph drainage sessions with a qualified practitioner last October/November and those really, really helped!!!!! I also sat in the infrared sauna several times. I noticed I didn't sweat until I got out of the sauna to use the restroom and then went back in on my first session. Another session, I didn't sweat for quite awhile, so I stepped out for a couple minutes (I was feeling the need) and then went back in and started sweating after a few minutes. It was a very clean, soft sweat and I was doing a cleanse at the time. Rather odd now that I think about it.


Anyway, I have an Ayurveda practitioner who has worked with me on several issues (not edema, per se) and I take Ayurveda herbs for kidney support. I have a tumor on my kidney (benign) that was found in a fluke situation. Drinking room temperature water or warmer is beneficial. Daily GENTLE exercise is beneficial (I walk and do yoga and qigong). She also does abyhangas (oil massage, but not like a Swedish massage), which helps remove blockages of all kinds.


I've read about edema, as well. Medical doctors and most other people I have asked, pretty much say you learn to live with it and manage the symptoms best you can. Some have said I am full of toxins and that when those are released/removed/gone, then the water retention/lymphatic system issues will resolve.


I'm still searching, too....

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#5 of 10 Old 03-31-2011, 01:25 PM
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I'm glad to hear you've been to an MD to rule out anything serious like heart problems.  I'm sorry you haven't gotten any answers or help.  I was just reading about castor oil (for other reasons) and came across a page with a lot of information about the lymphatic system.  It would be worth a read.  http://www.electroherbalism.com/Naturopathy/Therapies/Diet/FatsandOils/CastorOil.htm 


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#6 of 10 Old 03-31-2011, 01:40 PM
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I'm curious what type of adrenal support you tried? And have you had any blood work done testing your electrolytes?

Have you tried Celtic sea salt? (I know salt sounds counter-intuitive for water retention, but it really helped w/ mine when my adrenals tanked.)

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#7 of 10 Old 03-31-2011, 04:17 PM
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have you searched on Lymphedema specifically. I know of someone who has that, two people actually, and have heard a special lymphatic massage can be beneficial and the other person I know of does an inversion table nightly. The folks I know of who have it have it chronically, so I'm not sure it's so much a curable condition as a treatable one.

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#8 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 08:30 AM
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I am 34 years old and for the past 4 months my feet swell extremely. my tubes are tied so I can't be pregnant and when going to the emergancy room and primary care physician   they could not come up with an answer to my problem. they did ultrasounds in my legs to check for blood clots, ran tests on my thyroids, kidney, liver etc..which all came back normal. Over the counter diuretics, epsom salts etc..do not work. Any ideas? When I drink more water it seems worse. Usually it will go down overnight but within an hour of waking its back again. It's so severe that my feet feel like the skin is stretched to the max. I have noticed as well that i have gained extra weight around stomach area and wrists and hands swell too but not much. Desperate for some help.

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#9 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I forgot all about this post. I did finally figure out what was causing the edema and is been resolved. I've lost all the extra water weight. My was a result of low progesterone. I was very estrogen dominant. I went on progesterone supplements and my health really turned around. It also helped my fertility as I'm expecting #4 now. I'm 32 weeks of in Texas summer heat with no swelling whatsoever.

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#10 of 10 Old 08-22-2012, 02:28 PM
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Shooting at random ideas:

  • are you 45+ peri or  premenopausal? hormons do crazy stuff and can cause extreme water retension
  • gluten? I am highly allergic to gluten. I can't eat bread, pizza or antyhign that has remote amount of gluten as this will reslut

    my body to cling to water like a monkey to the palm tree. I just can't eat this stuff.

  • seemingly unrelated and yet hugely important: do you wear tight shoes, socks, panties pants snag blouses tight bras?

stop switch for few months to loose and roomy to see if that helps.. wear slip on shoes in and outside the house, socks must be loose

or best diabetic socs that do not restrict your circulation, then teh same with pants, never never never wear pants that

snug to your body, wear loose styles, do nto use belts, and do not use snag bra and bloses

Point beaing - one of the reason you have so much water is bad circulation, your heart might be weak and

it easily pumpst the blood to the lower extremeties and all over but is struggling with taking it back and clean

the system along with it. Water retention is one of the symptoms of bad circulation.

  • Do you lead sedantery lifestyle aside from excersize? some people seat all day at the computer,

and this kills their circualtion, on has to move around or at least take frequent breaks to move circuation about.

  • by the same token, if and when you seat down you should not have your legs down and you should have

keep them warm as this also helps the circulation or kills it.

  • do you use salty foods? cut totally on salt for a month, few days is not enough to rid the body of all

the deposited salt in the body. that inclues not only salt but all kid of sodium infested foods, anythig that

tastes salty don not consume.

  • Thyroid?\
  • Drinking sodas and other products containing corn syrup that is among others hormone disruptive?
  • Drinking water from plastic bottles and using plastic dishes to microvwave and store food as plastic

leaches into the food and water and causes all kinds of water retention issues due to hormonal changes

as it is major hormone disruptor - even so cold "safe plastic" is not so safe.. just watch

Plastic planet documentary for what scientists do say aobut "safe plastic"

  • It is possible that you have some issues with your ovaries and your body simply thinks that is going

into pregnancy mode and so it retain water as you were.

  • Is it possible that you are taking contraception pill that is distrubing your natural body mechanisms?



Not knowing you at all but only from what you have written here is my entirely hypotetical thinking:

I would think that there is not one but many things going on that make it so difficult to diagnose and cure..


  1. you might have hormonal imbalance be it due extended nursing or just after giving birth the body never got back on feet and rig  havog in your system.
  2. on the top of it you might have Thyroid issues - low functionning
  3. on the top of it you might have developed circulation problems, I am guessing you might have been heavily pumped with IV during your delivery at the hospital and on the top of being already pretty heavy due to the pregnancy you were even more heavy due to the all fluids.. eventually fluids went away but your body did got out of whack possibly due to the fact that now it has difficulty of water retention management etc..
  4. so now your heart is overworking pumping all the blood, cleaning toxins from all the extra enlarged cells and so it is vicious circle
  5. on the top of it you lived in a while in toxic environment so you have extra toxins inside
  6. on the top of it you put your body though extra big clensing process that somehow might not agree with you..

as example: Alfalfa, however does wonders in water removal it is also pretty good herb to increase lactacion and

how it is done? by affecting your hormons to begin with.. so is the Alfalfa best choice in yoru case? I don't know

Mothers who stopped  nursing are producing milk without knowing it for years.. so chances are your body might still

and taking Alfalfa might somehow put you into lactating mother deal when it stores extra water fro milk production?

just a very far fetched theory of mine.. but I am very careful with Alfalfa, you might take it occassinally but

I would not take it all the time, .. oh and btw.. you do know that extented intake of Alfalfa might cause lupus right?



7. now.. all the supplements and the detox things..  as much as I like the idea I don't do them. As many I do believe

that the supplements might actually do unknow to your body as nobody knows the end results. I do believe in detox

based on fasting, juicing and coffe enema that does wonders to your body, actually really well cleaning it and

actually not adding anything to your body in the amounts that your body would not knwo what to do with it..

as in.. what if you are taking supplement X and you have been prescribed it in certain amount? how do you

know your body need that much and as much and all? who can be sure? we are all different and

I believe that only the amount of nutrients that are in natural forms of foods are safe as their ratio is meant

to be safe.


so bottom line, I would go off the entire detox based on herbs, supplements and vitamins that for most parts

are herbs - contain large amounts of herbicides, pesticides etc.. if not organic.. supplements and vitamins

are purely chemically in origin unless those naturally and organically grewn or harvested and those too..

can  never be totally safely taken without constant monitoring your blod as not to overdoo anything?


food is safe..


I would totally look into things like Gerson Therapy where you go on detox diet based on juicing and coffe enema,

it is not some sort of program that you pay for, it is just interesting way of using what you have in your store

and doing with it something good to heal your body..


I would assume that once you rid of natural food toxins like gluten and salt, add on the top of it cleansing

by fasting and then follow up with organic juicing diet then you should see some improvement.


I also would wonder if the cabbage soup diet would not help you to get fast the 10 or so pounds quickly

as this is not so much diet as everyone thinks it mostly takes your excess water away.

Now beware, do not add to the soup anything that sounds delicious.. many stupid receipeis there

ask to add bulions, flavours and like that.. if you want it to be nontoxix then it has to be

free of those addtives as those always contain hidden glutamine.


I totally would advise you to watch the movie called  Gerson Miracle


or another movie .. "Beautiful Truth" as it tells you

about easy and simple way of how food heals or kills... and nhow to get rid of most ilnesses,

allergies including cancer.. with food and food alone.


It was the best 90 mintes I have ever spent.



good luck and hope you will get better in no time.


All I have written here - this is  not medical advice , this is just my personal opinion and thughts listed here

so please do not consider it to be a medical advice. I am not a doctor and I can't give any avices of course

but I hope you find something inspiring in some of I written and maybe you will find your way to cure your

problem in some place you did not think to look ?Hugs.

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