Swelling can occur in any part of the body. It is an increase in the size or some change in the shape of an area on your body.
Swelling may be accompanied by pain and a tingling sensation in the affected area. It causes much discomfort sometimes, not allowing you to do your regular activities normally.
Types of Swelling
There are two main types of swellings that can occur in your body. Localized swelling is in a restricted area, limiting itself to the place of injury. Generalized swelling is all over the body, or it could be on the whole limb. Body fluids accumulate in the affected areas and this leads to the swelling.
Causes of Swelling
If you have an injury on your ankle, hand or any particular area of your body, a local swelling might develop there. An injury, infections like abscess, burns and insect bites can cause localized swelling to occur. Certain medications, or insect stings, may cause an allergic reaction in the body and lead to a generalized swelling.
Another kind of swelling may occur due to abnormal tissue growth. A very common swelling occurs when you stand or sit in a position for too long, it may lead to swelling in the feet and ankles. Body fluid accumulates in these areas due to the pull of gravity. Accumulation of fluids is called oedema. Heat oedema is caused by working in very hot environment.
Home Remedies for Swelling
Apply an Ice Pack
If you have a swelling due to an injury, application of ice packs is very effective in reducing the swelling. Wrap some ice cubes in a clean cloth and apply this ice pack to the affected area. This provides lot of relief from the pain and the swelling subsides on regular application.
Apply Aloe Vera
Aloe vera possesses many medicinal properties due to which it is used as a home remedy for many ailments. It contains a substance called bradykininase, which reduces swelling in the affected areas.
Apply aloe vera gel to the affected part of the body every hour till the swelling subsides. It provides a soothing feeling and is very beneficial in the case of insect bites which itch a great deal.
Ginger is the most popular home remedy for treating many kinds of ailments. It contains compounds that help to reduce the swelling and alleviate pain. Ginger has blood thinning properties and this helps prevent the fluid and blood collection in the affected area.
Add some crushed, fresh ginger root to a bowl of water and boil for a few minutes. Have this ginger tea.
Pineapples are rich in a compound called bromelain that is effective in preventing excess fluid collection in the affected part of your body. Eat slices of fresh pineapple regularly until the swelling vanishes completely.
Apply Hot and Cold Towels
Use temperature to treat the inflammation and swelling by alternating between hot and cold treatments. First, cover the affected area with a towel soaked in some cold water. This helps reduce the swelling as the blood flow gets restricted.
Now, after half an hour, apply a hot towel to the same area. The heat helps alleviate the pain. Continue this treatment till the swelling subsides completely.
The swollen area can be painful, so a very gentle massage is only advised. Massaging the affected area in slow, gentle strokes, in the direction of your heart, helps remove the excess fluid collected there. This helps bring down the swelling.
Elevate the Swollen Part
Excess fluid collects in the affected region and causes swelling. You need to get rid of this collected fluid in order to reduce it. The best way to achieve this is by elevating the swollen part of the body above your heart level.
Do this for at least half an hour, thrice a day, in order to allow the fluid to drain away. You will notice a considerable reduction in swelling in the affected area.
Reduce Salt Intake
Excess salt causes bloating and fluid retention in the body. You already have enough fluid retention in the affected parts of your body and you need to reduce it! Cut down on your salt intake if you have generalized swelling in your body due to some infection, allergy, or disease.
This will certainly help prevent fluid collection and bring down the swelling considerably. Avoid processed, preserved and junk foods as their salt content is quite high.
Drink Plenty of Water
It may seem strange that since fluid collection causes swelling, you are being asked to drink more water. But, drinking plenty of water will help flush out toxins from your body and help it effectively filter out the fluid that is causing the swelling. Water also keeps the body tissues well hydrated and helps in good blood circulation, which allows the body to heal faster.
Ideal Diet For Reducing Swelling
Foods to Eat
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Eliminating the excess water buildup is very crucial to bring down the swelling in your body. Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Watermelons, papayas, pineapples and oranges are some fruits that are high in water content. Cucumbers are natural diuretics which help remove toxins and excess water from the body.
Include lots of omega-3 rich food like tuna, salmons and trouts in your daily diet. Omega-3 acids help reduce the inflammation in your body, and hence are useful in the reduction of the swelling.
If you do not consume fish, take some fish oil supplements that will provide you with the necessary nutrients. You can also get a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids supply from flaxseeds, walnuts and soybeans.
Foods to Avoid
Processed and canned foods contain too much added sodium which causes more fluid retention in the body. Avoid eating such food items completely. These will cause the swelling to increase instead of subsiding it! Opt for whole grains and fresh produce.
Also, avoid eating very spicy food as it will irritate your system more. Try eating light and bland food till you are cured completely. Avoid oily and heavy food as it is difficult to digest.