• Jeanine Mewburn

Are you drinking enough water?

Did you know that not drinking enough water can worsen your lymphoedema?

In normal circumstances, the body does not store water, which needs to be replaced, and it holds onto water when it is dehydrated. After the loss of fluid via breathing, perspiring, the kidneys, with the stools, the role of the lymphatic system is to remove the excess water from the tissue. With the fluid, it removes also big proteins attracting fluid in the tissue, dead cells debris, bacteria and the metabolic wastes, which are the wastes occurring when your body is burning energy. Without enough water, your body systems become sluggish, you may feel lethargic and unwell.

It does make sense to drink more water, reduce salt, alcohol, and diuretics from our diet. Diuretics may stimulate your kidneys to remove excess fluid but they do nothing to remove the proteins attracting fluid. Sodium can lead to fluid retention and high blood pressure, which can be a trigger for lymphoedema for people at risk, and people with lipoedema already have a higher tissue sodium content and fat to water ratio. See my previous blogs on food tips to improve the function of the lymphatic system. (

Our body is made up of 60% to 80% of water. The body cannot store it and most people lose about 2.5 to 3 liters of water per day with the elderly losing about two liters per day. We need to replace it to make up for losses. How much should we drink in a day? According to the Dietary Reference Intakes of Water for Australia, women should drink about two liters (eight cups) of fluids a day, and men about 2.6 liters (10 cups). This recommendation already considers the fact that our food represents about 20% of our water.

These figures are a general indication for healthy individuals. There can be variations when considering the climate in which we live, gender, age, metabolism, and daily activity. It is however difficult to drink too much water.

The guidelines for lymphoedema and lipoedema general practices is to recommend drinking more fluid. I would also suggest that you query the use of diuretics for lymphoedema with your doctor and look at tips to reduce the sodium content in your diet.

You are already dehydrated when you feel thirsty. You can live three minutes without air, one week without water, and one month without food. The magic on this earth is contained in our water. Drink it, bath in it, water your plants, and drink some more. Water is your new best friend.


Crescenzi, R., Marton, A., Donahue, P., Mahany, H., Lants, S., Wang, P., . . . Titze, J. (2017, December 27). Tissue sodium content is elevated in the skin and subcutaneous adipose tissue in women with lipedema. Obesity (Silver Spring), 310-317. doi:

Herbst, K. L. (2020, July 9). Lipedema Is Not Just Fat. doi:

Victoria State Government. (2020). Water - a vital nutrient. (D. University, Editor) Retrieved September 26, 2021, from Better Health Channel:

Zuther, J. (2021). Lymphoedema inform yourself and take control. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from Lymphoedema management:



#Water retention



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