Outlines how to reduce swelling in different parts of the body, what causes it and when you should see a doctor. Swelling can have a variety of causes – from insect bites to major injuries. We’ll also show you home remedies that you can use to relieve swelling.
How to reduce swelling: Causes of swelling
Swelling can have a wide variety of causes. They occur when fluid builds up in the tissue and mostly affect the arms and legs. Possible causes of swelling include:
- Insect bites
- Minor injuries such as bruises (they cause tiny damage to the blood vessels that cause swelling.)
- Major injuries (broken bones, etc.)
- In rare cases, medication
- Chronic inflammation, e.g. in rheumatism
- Standing or sitting tightly for long periods of time
Swelling can be completely harmless and will go away on its own after a while. However, they can also be a sign of a serious illness. We therefore generally advise you to see a doctor if the swelling does not go away and you cannot determine its cause or use home remedies for how to reduce swelling.
Swelling occurs when fluid is formed and stored outside the cells. Most of the time, swelling occurs with minor or major injuries. In everyday life you sometimes bump into each other and there is a swelling that disappears after a few days.
Metabolic disorders or diseases can, however, also be the reason for regular or permanent swellings on the body. If you take certain medications or if your blood circulation is impaired, these too may be responsible for the swelling. Swelling can also occur with hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause.
In what is known as edema, water accumulates because the lymph flow has stalled. Before the menstrual period, the stomach and breasts of many women tense, after a fall, the knee swells, the insect bite makes a nasty bump and after a hot summer day there is a congestion alarm in the ankles: we all have swellings. But they are uncomfortable and of course we want to get rid of them.
Around 80 out of 100 edemas are really. It is almost always lymph that builds up. Only with insect bites is it plasma fluid that seeps into the spaces between cells because the poison breaks the cell bridges.
Lymph disorders can also occur if the veins are not in good order. This applies to many women: every fifth person has high-grade varicose veins. Classic lymphatic disruptors are also alcohol, the birth control pill, hormone replacement therapy in menopause, as well as antihypertensive drugs, antidepressants and cortisone.
Consuming too much sweetener can also make us feel “like a tank of water”: It can reduce kidney function by up to 30 percent and cause the body to do it, according to the Nurses’ Health Study. The same thing happens if you consume too much salt. And even inflammation of the tooth or knee can lead to swelling, just like an allergy , too tight socks or shoes. How to lose water weight: complete guide and shred plan
How to reduce swelling: when to see a doctor
Edema is more harmless if it occurs on both sides – such as in the eyes and ankles. And if it disappears again at night. If both are not the case or if there is pain in the edema, a feeling of pressure in the right upper abdomen, nocturnal urination, shortness of breath or foamy urine, you should see a doctor. Because then there can also be a problem with the liver, heart or kidneys behind it.
How to reduce swelling: overview
Prevent with sport
If the lymphatic blockage is harmless, light exercise will get the system flowing again. Hormonal imbalances in PMS and swelling in menopause are improved by regular swimming, walking and cycling.
In addition , eat a lot of lymph-regulating fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, pineapple or strawberries and reduce the consumption of salty foods. Because every gram of salt binds up to 100 ml of fluid in the tissue. Beware of spice mixes — they often contain hidden salt. How to lose weight on the enzyme diet
If you have problems with edema
“If you have problems with edema, also reduce coffee, tea and chocolate. They contain methylxanthines, which bind water,” emphasizes a kidney specialist.
“A full bath that is not too hot, on the other hand, stimulates the excretion of water. And treading water, kissing knees and alternating showers also have a stimulating effect on the lymphatic system.”
How to reduce swelling: how to fix different types of swelling
If you suffer from certain types of swelling, we have summarized eight tips for you to help against different types of swelling:
- Puffy eyes : Brew 1 teaspoon of eyebright and marigold herb with 50 ml of water, drizzle in 2 drops of rose oil (everything available at the pharmacy), allow to cool, strain. Soak a cotton pad, apply it twice a day for 20 minutes.
- For vein problems: walk or lie instead of standing or sitting! Veins love movement. Therefore, you should put your feet up above your heart level as often as possible. You can do this 10 to 20 times up to 15 times a day. And then finish with a cold foot shower.
- Insect bite: grind 7 fresh rose petals in your hand, spread the emerging sap on the bite. Every 5 minutes. And for more certainty: find out what stung you.
- Feet in tight shoes: Mix 5 tablespoons of healing earth, 100 ml of arnica, 25 drops of horse chestnut tincture (all from a pharmacy) with cold water to a pulp. Spread 2 cm thick on tea towel and wrap around edema. Cover with a second cloth. 3 times for 1/2 hour each time. In addition, shoes without heels can prevent and these 23 tricks also help against heavy and tired legs.
- Thick knee, sports injuries: Spread chilled quark thick with the back of a knife (approx. 0.5 cm) on a large handkerchief, place on top, fix with gauze bandage. 20 minutes, 4 times a day.
- Swollen cheek: cut 1 cold lemon into thin slices, place on a linen cloth in the center, place 12 fresh peppermint leaves on top. Wrap the cloth into a compact pillow, place on the cheek with the peppermint side. 30 minutes. Up to 5 times a day. How to lose weight on the face – healthy ways to slim your face
- Blue spot, bruise: fill 1 jam jar with fresh daisies, fill up with 38 percent alcohol, screw on and leave to stand in a dark room for 4 weeks. Strain, fill into a dark dropper bottle. Put 50 drops on a cloth, place on the painful area. Cover with a compress. Let it work for 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
- PMS with breast tenderness: Drink 1 cup of tea with nettle, birch leaves or field horsetail 3 times a day. To do this, brew 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of the herb mixture (also available at the pharmacy) with 200 ml of water. Let it steep for 7 minutes. Strain. Also good: massage the breasts with cool lavender oil .
How to reduce swelling: best home remedies for swelling
As a layperson, you usually cannot determine the exact cause of the swelling – you can only treat the symptoms. In order for the swelling to go down permanently, you often have to know the cause and cure the edema accordingly.
Home remedies can often help, especially with minor injuries and swellings. However, if the swelling occurs more often and for no reason, you should have these symptoms analyzed by a doctor.
- Aloe Vera is available either as an ointment or you can use the leaf gel. Apply this to the affected area. If there is swelling in the mouth, you can gargle aloe vera diluted with water. Another alternative is comfrey ointment , which is applied just like aloe vera.
- Lemon or onion help against insect bites and work best shortly after the bite. The juice is applied directly to the affected area.
- Moist compresses with arnica or horse chestnut extract also help. Arnica is also available as a gel and also capsules or ointments with horse chestnut. This promotes the excretion of tissue fluid.
- You can also puree half a cucumber and leave it on the swelling for 30 minutes. Cold quark removes heat, fluid and inflammatory substances from the swelling and can also be used against sunburn.
- The first thing you should do is cool any swelling. Cooling pads are suitable, but also a cool, wet cloth. Apply light pressure on the affected area.
- For insect bites , it will help if you quickly squeeze an onion or lemon on the bite. The juice helps pull the poison out. Warmth can also help: for example, place a warm spoon directly on the prick.
- Cold curd removes heat and fluid from the swelling and therefore also relieves it. It’s best to make a curd wrap for the affected area.
- Moist compresses with arnica or horse chestnut extract can reduce the swelling. Both promote the excretion of fluid from the tissue. Arnica is available as a gel, and horse chestnuts as an ointment in pharmacies.
- Aloe Vera cools and removes heat from the swelling. Just apply some gel from the pharmacy or drug store.
- Camphor is an essential oil that promotes blood circulation and thus reduces swelling. It also cools and numbs painful areas. You can get it in the pharmacy or in the drugstore. Caution: The proportion of camphor in the oil should be a maximum of 25 percent. Also, be careful not to use camphor on young children (under four years of age). Asthmatics, pregnant or breastfeeding women should also not use camphor. If you have an allergic reaction, it is important to stop treatment. How to lose weight quickly – and safely
Should you use heat or cold?
When is it better to use the hot water bottle and when the cooling pad? Making the right decision requires some background knowledge of the cause of the swelling: in acute injuries that involve swelling or bruising, cold relieves pain and minimizes swelling. Warmth, on the other hand, alleviates stomach cramps and relaxes tense or tense muscles. But what do cold and heat do in the body and why do these thermal treatments even help?
This is how cold works
Cold constricts the blood vessels and reduces blood flow. This effect is used to prevent swelling and bruises from spreading. In addition, the cold dampens practically all local inflammation processes . For the local cold treatment of acute injuries, cooling pads or crushed ice cubes in a plastic bag are suitable. It is important to avoid freezing the skin. Therefore you wrap the cooling pad in a towel or put it in a washcloth so that it does not lie directly on the skin.
This is how heat works
Warmth, on the other hand, widens the blood vessels and increases blood flow. As a result, the tissue is better supplied with nutrients and oxygen. In addition, metabolic products are removed more quickly. Heat also relaxes muscle tension, stiff joints and abdominal cramps. Hot water bottles, cherry stone pillows warmed in the microwave or a red light lamp are suitable for heat treatment at home. Some patients also benefit from special heat plasters from the pharmacy that are stuck to the painful area.
The rule of thumb
A simple rule of thumb helps when deciding whether to warm or cold: cool for acute injuries, warm for tense muscles and stiff joints as well as all chronic ailments.