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Edema in the Ankles and Feet During Menstruation: Causes and Treatment Options

written by: Charlotte Raynor • edited by: BStone • updated: 12/24/2010

Edema in ankles and feet during menstruation is common in women because of the hormonal changes that the body goes through during that time of the month. Learn what edema is, what additional causes there are and the treatment options for this edema.

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    What is Edema?

    Swollen feet and ankles, also called edema, is a condition where excessive fluid is retained in the muscles in the feet. This unreasonable amount of fluid can also cause an increase in weight. Gravity force drives the fluids down towards the ankles and feet, which is what causes them to swell. Edema can happen in the body in a number of places for a number of reasons. One of the places is edema in ankles and feet during menstruation.

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    Causes of Edema

    Edema can have several different causes. Some women have problems with edema in ankles and feet during menstruation. It is even common to develop edema a few days before menstruation. If you eat a lot of salty foods, like French fries, potato chips or fast food, this could also be causing the swelling. It is a good idea to stay away from these kinds of foods all during the month.

    Additionally, if you have to sit or stand for long periods of time or have high or low blood pressure, this can cause edema in the lower extremities. The biggest cause of edema in ankles and feet during menstruation is the hormonal changes that occur in a woman’s body during that time of the month.

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    Treatment Options

    One treatment is to drink plenty of water during the week before your period and avoid salt. Also, when you can, raise your legs above the heart level. Wearing support hose or elastic stockings which are also known as compression stockings, can help energize circulation in your legs and stop some of the swelling. These stockings can really provide long lasting relief with the swelling if you spend all day on your feet. Try to take breaks and sit down occasionally. Take time to stretch and do not sit or stand for too long if there is any way you can avoid it.

    It is very important to follow a good health routine. Exercising daily and good nutrition will improve the health of your cardiovascular system and your circulation, therefore helping to lessen the inclination of the feet and ankles to swell. Avoiding salt and foods containing salt will help also. Leg exercises can also aid in removing the fluid in the legs. Also, losing excess weight can help circulation.

    In order to help the edema in ankles and feet during menstruation you can try mild diuretics to help alleviate swelling if your edema is severe. However, your physician will need to prescribe these medications for you.

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    When to Seek Medical Care

    Sometimes edema can be a life-threatening medical emergency that will require urgent treatment by a medical professional. If you experience any of the following symptoms in addition to the edema, seek immediate medical treatment:

    • Anxiety
    • Chest pain
    • Wheezing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Unusual pale skin
    • Restlessness
    • Irregular heartbeat or rhythm
    • Excessive sweating
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    References

    Edema. (2010, March 9). Retrieved December 16, 2010, from University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/edema-000055.htm

    Etingin MD, O. (2008, September 24). Feet Swelling During Period. Retrieved December 16, 2010, from EverydayHealth.com: http://www.everydayhealth.com/specialists/woman/etingin/qa/feet-swelling-during-period/index.aspx

    Swollen Feet. (2007). Retrieved December 16, 2010, from Peoples-Health.com: http://www.peoples-health.com/swollen_feet.htm