As with any condition, learning how to manage and treat the symptoms is an important step to break-free and live a normal healthy life. In the case of renal failure symptoms, there are unfortunately many to contend with, but it is my hope that this post will serve as guide to eliminate one of the most common of them known as: renal failure edema.
Renal failure edema is a renal failure symptom whereby the kidneys are unable to excrete enough fluid, via the urine, to create a healthy internal balance.
There are many pharmaceuticals drugs (diuretics) and alternative therapies that can help improve urine flow and reduce swelling (edema), but the trick is getting the right one for your kidney disease symptom.
Unfortunately many diuretics can cause renal failure, or reduce kidney function as part of their side-effects… Doesn’t make sense does it?
This is not an exhaustive list by any measure, but the following drugs have been implicated with renal failure or decreased renal function: Spironolactone (Aldactone), Chlorothiazide (Diuril, Diuril Sodium), and Triamterene (Dyrenium). I would recommend asking your doctor next time you visit to double check the side effects of the diuretic that he or she has prescribed you. Otherwise, jump online at www.drugs.com to assess the side effects for yourself; and then bring up any concerns you have with your health care professional.
Note: Diuretic drugs can play a much needed role in the management of kidney disease, especially when a fast and much needed action is required. You just need to play it right, and play it safe.
Option Number 2 (or should it be number 1?)
Thankfully Mother Nature has some answers of her own! She has been busy the last few hundred million years formulating specific plants to provide the same benefits as drugs – the only difference being that there are virtually no side-effects.
That’s not to say you can take any at random, no that is definitely not the case, in fact you have to be just as careful prescribing natural remedies during kidney disease as you do drugs. The only difference is, is that when you select the appropriate plant, the side-effects are always less than the pharmaceutical drugs counterpart.
So What Are The Best Natural Treatment For People With Renal Failure Edema?
Herbal Medicine Tips
In no particular order, here are some of the best herbs to reduce renal edema and improve urination:
- Celery seed: the is a fantastic remedy, one of the best, but those categorised with stage 3-5 kidney disease need to avoid it; it may be consumed freely as a part of your diet, but not as a concentrated supplement. The plant is also fantastic at treating gout, rheumatism and urinary tract infections.
- Green tea: has been used as a diuretic in China for centuries, and is very safe. Green tea is also beneficial for atherosclerosis, prevention of cancer, high cholesterol, and infections.
- Gravel root: a gentle herb used to eliminate excess fluid. Also beneficial for rheumatic conditions, prostatitis, urinary tract infections, and of course kidney stones (hence the name ‘gravel’ root).
- Goldenrod: beneficial for both the kidneys and reducing edema, however this herb cannot be used in all stages of kidney disease (avoid in stages 3-5). Goldenrod is also an excellent herb for sinusitis, throat infections, cystitis, and flatulence.
- Dandelion leaf (not to be confused with the root): is a well known diuretic for many centuries. This plant needs to be avoided in those with high potassium blood levels (hyperkalemia), and those with gallbladder problems.
- Nettle leaf (not to be confused with the root): a great all round herb that is gentle, nutritious and helps heal the kidneys.
- Juniper: this herb is excellent for eliminating fluid retention, but like celery seed it needs to avoided in cases where stage 3-5 kidney disease is present; also beneficial for rheumatism, digestion, and cystitis.
- Butcher’s broom: This is herb is a great choice in those whose main contributing factor for fluid retention is poor circulation (which is common in renal failure).
- Limit sodium intake: this should have probably been the first thing I mentioned; if you don’t get your intake right of sodium, then whatever you do to treat it will certainly be either an impossible mission, or a much slower process. Look to consume 1 – 2.5 grams sodium a day. Or at the very least, rather than counting your sodium every day, do not add salt to meals and make sure you avoided prepacked highly salted foods (e.g. biscuits, chips, processed meats, ‘fast’ foods, pizza, packet soups and instant pastas, pre-packaged sauces, and canned vegetables).
- Eat foods that naturally have a diuretic action: asparagus, garlic, pineapple, grapes, onion, leeks, parsley, leafy greens, green beans, beets, and pumpkin.
- Eat foods that are high in antioxidants and flavonoids to improve circulation: blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cherries, squash and capsicums.
- Eat a high-fibre diet, including plenty of fresh whole foods such as, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and raw nuts and seeds.
- Eat deep sea cold water fish e.g. Salmon and Mackerel.
- Use olive oil for cooking.
- Avoid highly processed and refined foods, such as cakes, biscuits, white bread, pastas, cereals and sugar.
- Avoid alcohol, saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, sugar, caffeine, and tobacco.
- Vitamin C
- Bioflavonoids – Rutin, Quercetin
- Grape seed
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Potassium – only use if your blood levels of potassium are in the normal range
- Exercise: exercise helps reduce renal failure edema by improving circulation (via muscular contractions). Without exercise, fluid tends to pool in to the lower extremities such as the legs and feet. Aerobic and cardio exercises are best, anything from brisk walking, swimming, jogging, tennis, group gym classes (e.g. step classes), and bike riding are great. Light to moderate intensity 4-5 times a week.
- Lymphatic drainage massage: give this one a try! A trained massage therapist gently massages you in a style that stimulates your lymphatic system and directs excess fluid to the kidneys for elimination.
- Bandaging: Apply a short stretch compression bandage while exercising or more physical activities (e.g. gardening or other household duties). The bandages will enhance resistance next to the affected areas and, consequently, help to alleviate fluid-swollen regions.
So there you have it! There are so many options for treating renal failure edema naturally that you are bound to find a combination that fits your lifestyle (though don’t scared of change) and help ease your swelling!
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About the Author: Hello, my name is Duncan Capicchiano, I am the owner and creator of KidneyCoach.com. My professional background is Naturopathy, and I am also an International Author and Researcher that specialises in the treatment and management of kidney disease. My most famous work in kidney disease is The Kidney Disease Solution Program. Lastly - but most importantly - I am the loving "father" of my two dogs Ruby and Pebbles, my horse Cossie, and husband to my beautiful wife, Fiona.