Thyroid UK
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Water retention

I have been trying to convince my doctor for 12 years I have an under-active thyroid. That's another story. Anyway the absolute worse thing at the moment is water retention. When my bladder feels full I can only manage a trickle of urine. My entire body in blown up like a balloon, my doc doesn't seen that concerned, I've been like this for months.

Has anyone got any info of ideas of what I should do? I have been trying low salt and dandelion tea but nothing is working.

12 Replies

Does this swelling pit? That is, if you press on it with fingers, does it retain the impression and only slowly recover? Or does it not really develop indentations at all?

If it is non-pitting then there are not many things other than thyroid which are likely to be causing it.

So, have you had any blood tests? Have you got the actual results? Get them - this link might help:

If you have not been tested, then ask to be. You need at least TSH and Free T4. But while you are at it, ask for:

vitamin B12



vitamin D

All of these are often low in hypothyroidism, can cause similar symptoms, and generally make things worse.

If it is hypothyroidism, nothing but thyroid hormone will work - and you definitely do not want to hide one of the most important symptoms.

Do you take any medicines or supplements? Do you have any other diseases or disorders?


1 like

have replied to you Rod


It worked! :-)


Yay :D


The swelling is very hard to see Rod apart from my face which is puffy. I seem to retain all over and maybe because I am over weight it can't be seen so well. I know its there though, when I was pregnant it was even worse, eventually leading to kidney failure, I had an emergency c-section and lost 30 lb of water in 2 weeks!

However, my doctors don't like to talk about this for some strange reason ;) so it's been hard to get advice.

It's a long and boring story but the main points are:

my mum and sister and various close aunties and cousins are under active

i have severe symptoms including no body hair whatsoever, hardly any eyebrows and about a quarter of what my head hair was, a basal temp of 35-ish, and all the obvious - weight gain, depression etc etc

My doc has sent me for many blood tests and say they are 'normal' range 2. something (I've asked for copies) I have high CK and iron?? which nobody can explain although I was taking kelp for about a year.

After an hysterical breakdown my doctor has put me on a 25mg of levothyroxine about 6 weeks ago which has made no difference.


As shaws says, if you are bad enough to need it, 25 mcg is too little. And some doctors would have increased it at 2 to 4 weeks.

Do post the test results when you get them.

Are you currently taking anything else?

By the way, if you use the "Reply to this" under replies, the person gets an alert. Makes life easier all round. Don't worry - everyone seems to miss this to begin with!


I have recently come of the depo contraception injection and I am on 100mg of sertraline per day and 10mg amitripilin (sp) per night to sleep (restless leg problems etc)


Have you always had high iron?

A genetic disorder called haemochromatosis is quite common - especially in those with some north British ancestry. And all too often people only get significant symptoms as they get a bit older.

Worth considering?


25mcg wouldn't make much difference and it should have been increased by now. As for your blood tests forget 'normal'. Get a copy of your latest blood test results and post here complete with the ranges and people will be able to comment better.

This is a link re swelling. It used to be known as one of the clinical symptoms before the blood test was introduced. Also people were medicated according to symptoms not by the TSH.

p.s. if you reply to a particular comment, you have to press the blue reply to this button and the person is then alerted otherwise you may wonder why there was no response.

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Brilliant! thank you, Dr Lowe has nailed it! I have terrible pain in almost every joint, especially wrists and ankles, so much so my doctor threatened me with steroid injections in my wrists when I was pregnant !


It just goes to show that your instinct is better than GP's suggestions. They do not know!!

1 like

Hi Rod is so right. A lot of things can cause bad fluid retention , Tum , ascites and oedema, legs and ankles. heart and kidney are common causes. Of course, you may well be right about it being the thyroid.I used to be told that if it disappears overnight , it is not too serious. Make sure you drink plenty of water, especially if taking diuretics, even dandelion.Or if not taking anything.I hope you sort it as I know it is horrible.

Best wishes,



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