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Definition of Water retention

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Water retention: A nonspecific term meaning the accumulation of excess fluids in body tissues, medically known as edema. Edema can result from many different disease processes, including but not limited to diseases of the heart and circulation and kidney disease.

Water retention is also used to describe the symptoms of feeling bloated or experiencing a small weight gain due to physiologic shifts in body fluid balance brought on by dietary changes, hormonal factors, or dehydration. In this sense water retention is described as a common symptom of the premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. See also edema.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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