Natural Cures for Bloating and Fluid Retention

| Modified on Dec 17, 2023
Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Tami (Slc, Ut) on 11/01/2016

I have suffered with chronic bloating, excessive belching and gas, abdominal cramping (ranging from annoying to intense pain), inflammation, water retention, fogging brain, bad breath, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, swollen belly, etc) for 13-14 yrs. I have had about $20,000 of medical tests performed to find the problem, ending in no diagnosis. The gastroenterology best guess was either SIBO or inadequate peristaltic movements in the intestines. We got rid of the diarrhea with VSL3 probiotic but then I started tending towards constipation. I have also investigated numerous natural remedy supplements and diets (GAPS, fodmaps), costing me thousands of dollars. All to no avail. There were two things that helped somewhat. Homemade kefir and raw MSM. The kefir reduced my symptoms and the MSM reduced the level of discomfort due to reduced inflammation.

And then I tried organic Apple Cider Vinegar. 1 TBPS, 1 cup hot water, 1 TBPS honey every morning. I have been doing this for about 7 weeks and this is all I have for breakfast. I will then eat a snack about 10 am. I am absolutely blown away with how much better I feel. I'm not constipated any more and all my bloating symptoms are gone with the exception of 2-3 days associated with my period. After I drink it my stomach feels warm and comfortable and I no longer look like I'm 6 months pregnant half the time. Who would have thought that a product that is so affordable and easy to implement would have such an effect.

@Jayadurga (post from 2008) No, I have not had any depression. However, I have noticed more arthritis pain. I don't know if there is a connection because I know someone who is taking ACV to relieve arthritis pain.

Vitamin C
Posted by Dreamseeker (Miami, Fl) on 06/24/2017

Hello, I have very large fibroids for years now. Like clockwork I would get severe bloating right before my cycle. So severe that I could look anywhere from 3-6 months pregnant. If lucky the bloating would go away as soon as my cycle started. This severe bloating was absolutely depressing. My stomach felt hard & uncomfortable...I couldn't fit my clothes and had to go through all types of measures in an attempt to hide my mid-section. People would routinely ask me if I was pregnant which was also depressing because I wasn't. I felt insecure, ugly & untouchable. I wasn't sure what to do about it (the bloating) while still battling what I could do to get rid of my fibroids without surgery. I tried different things that didn't work for the bloating including ACV (pills & in water). Diuretic pills worked great but they were expensive (I'm frugal) and served only the purpose of helping with bloat.

Anyhow in seeking a solution to reduce my fibroids I recently started taking Vitamin C. I now take between 1000-6000mg of Vitamin C EVERYDAY and it has completely prevented premenstrual bloat. I take 1 Vitamin C pill (1000mg) with a bottle of water a few times a day. If I have 500mg Vitamin C pills, I take a few at a time a few times a day.

Vitamin C also from everything I have researched is great for your skin & liver so overall it is a worthwhile endeavor. I highly recommend adding daily Vitamin C as a way to fend off bloating issues. I don't like the chewables and haven't experienced any drawbacks from taking Vitamin C in large doses. Some research also recommends high dose daily Vitamin C for general health purposes. It is also recommended to space out the dosages throughout the day for better absorption. I still drink orange juice regularly also.

I hope this info helps others:)

Dietary Changes, Enzymes
Posted by Rebekah (Athens, Ga) on 10/03/2009

To Saffi-

Yes I know how you feel! I'd be happy to share more details. And I must warn you- if you have been a big sugar eater like I used to be, the first week will be absolute torture and the sugar cravings will practically keep you up at night. It is a real challenge.

For the most part I have been following the advice in a popular book and I don't think I am allowed to recommend any specific products, but if you can find a book about balancing the body's inner ecology, that has helped guide me.

Now for the food that I eat:

First thing in the morning it's nice to drink some unsweetened kefir. I feel like this helps put the "good bacteria" in my system to start out the day. I wait a while before eating if I have some kefir. I also take a probiotic supplement at this time.

Breakfast is usually cream of buckwheat with butter and sea salt. Yummy if made with unsweetened coconut milk instead of water. The coconut milk has been easy on my stomach and seems to be the only type of "milk" that I can consume. Another breakfast fave of mine is scrambled eggs and a salad. I found a salad dressing made with apple cider vinegar (the only type of vinegar I can handle) and no added sweetener. I am reading labels like crazy now and I am shocked to see how much sugar is in everything! Oh and I should mention that I never have the buckwheat at the same time as eggs- it goes against "proper food combining" to eat protein and starch together. And I use butter to cook everything instead of using any heavy oils. It's so much easier on my tummy. (Butter and kefir are the only dairy products I have been consuming.)

Lunch is usually soup! I have never really cooked in my life before now, but I found a bunch of recipes for soups and I just make a huge batch that lasts me a few days. That way when I am hungry (which is often on this diet!) I can just heat up some soup. Lots of carrots and onions in the soup kinda satisfy the urge for sweetness. I am eating a lot of salads, I haven't done this yet but something good would be to have salad with hard boiled egg or maybe some chicken on top.

Dinner is generally some organic meat and then steamed or sauteed vegies. Pork chops, boiled chicken, even steaks I have eaten and my tummy is feeling good. I try to have more vegies than meat. I never eat too much to the point of feeling full, I try to keep my portions reasonable (I used to overeat at meals) and never have seconds. I don't want to overload my stomach any more. I take the digestive enzymes before every meal. And apparently sipping some water with a tsp of apple cider vinegar in it along with meals is another good digestive aid. I have done this a few times and it is nice.

Every now and then I will have a vegetarian dinner of all vegies or have the "meat" be some red potatoes. Apparently red potatoes have less sugar than other kinds. And never meat and potatoes together! Or something I hope to do more is have some gluten free grain like millet or quinoa, with side of vegies.

For snacking I hit the sunflower seeds or some raw carrots. Or have a small bowl of soup. I get hungry so often that I would rather eat another small meal than just have a snack.

For beverages I am drinking a lot of ginger tea and fennel tea. Both are great for digestion and also happen to be super yummy. No sweetener!

If I am out with friends I order soda water with lemon or lime. At home sometimes I will make myself a "mocktail" of mostly sparkling mineral water with some unsweetened cranberry juice added. It's really good!

And at night, another probiotic supplement. That's pretty much it I think. And like I said I have terrible cravings for DAYS, I was fantasizing about pancakes and muffins and bread, and actually feeling lightheaded at times as I think my body was detoxing. But I am finally at a point now where I am not having cravings... YAY! And I am more or less off the coffee, every few days I will have less than half a cup just for a little taste. And it is a real treat.

So here is a list of the foods I "can" eat: buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, millet, sunflower seeds, soaked almonds, organic meats, cold water fish, shellfish, sea vegetables, carrots, onions, garlic, red peppers, spinach, squashes, pumpkin, fennel, red potatoes, daikon radish, zucchini, cucumber, ginger, lemons, limes, unsweetened cranberries. Nothing fermented- I avoid soy sauce and miso. Nothing too oily. And nothing with any yeast. I think most any vegetable would be fine, but I guess beets and yams are too sugary. I hope to be able to add some things back into my diet slowly over time but not until I really feel healed.

I really hope this helps you or anyone else suffering the dread bloated pot belly. I finally feel like I am digesting my meals. And no hurting belly any more. And geez I am so much more confident about my body!!!

Best of luck,

Baking Soda
Posted by Samantha (Abbotsford, Bc, Canada) on 04/14/2013

Baking soda has been a HUGE help to my bloating issues. I've had IBS for many years now and have tried all sorts of things. Baking soda makes the most impact. It's important to take it on an empty stomach, 4 hours after a meal or 1 hour before. I started with the standard protocol of 1/2 a tsp in 1/2 a cup of warm water (warm to make sure it's fully dissolved). You can take this dose up to 6 times a day, 2 hours apart. I've never done that much but use as needed.

I now take 1 tsp in 1 cup of warm water before bed and the burping helps to release all the stomach pressure that can't get out which really helps me sleep better. Also, as a side benefit, it helps me sleep solid through the night. I went off of the valiarian root I was taking for sleep because the baking soda was doing such a great job. I sometimes take a dose in the morning as well to help with alkininity.

As a side note, it's also been helping me get rid of parasites, deal with acidity issues, and inflammation (it really soothes my brain and other irritated body parts). Oh I forgot! It also soothes bladder pain; I haven't had it anymore so I totally forgot about that. It's a fantastic remedy for many things. Hope this helps someone like it did for me! :)

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Nadine (Muskoka, Ontario Canada) on 05/03/2012

Hi, an advocate for simplicity, I always have Apple Cider Vinegar in my fridge. I just started on chia seeds. after several days=water retention huge... Downed several teaspoons of ACV with immediate results of its removal.

Dandelion Root
Posted by Jeremiah (San Diego, California) on 07/13/2009

For fluid retention, Dandelion Root tea is quite possibly the best natural diuretic I can recommend. I know that it really made me go, which in turn made me lose a lot of water weight in my body.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Zella Sauer (Terre Haute, Indiana) on 09/17/2008

Hello, First let me say I love this site! I plan to try many many things here.

I came here because of a gallbladder attack. I was sooo sick with this last attack, and I am not working and have no medical insurance. So I started out with AVC in apple juice and wow !! I felt much better (((but a very wonderful side effect occurred, which I wasn't expecting.... I have been holding water a lot lately in my ankles, and I have been drinking lots of water to help rid my body and eating very little to no salt, but still some puffiness.... I have been using ACV for 3 days now and my ankles and lower legs are TINY again !!! I can't believe it !!!) I have since then been reading all the wonderful things ACV does so I am a believer and will be taking it from now on.))) I did start out drinking the regular kind from the store in apple juice, but I have bought the organic ACV now...

EC: Rest the rest of Zella's post here.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Laurie (Flora, Il, Us) on 06/13/2010


I read how acv helps with weight loss so I took one tbl in a glass of water. This was vinegar from the grocery store. I noticed a feeling in my stomach I can never remember having in my life. Ive always had a weight problem and never feel full unless I stuff myself. Anyway my stomach felt satisfied and I hadn't eaten for hours. I knew it was because of the vinegar so I searched on the net and found that asv gives a feeling of satiety (feeling you get when you're full). I also read to drink acv that has not been processed which is what you get at the grocery, so I found a site that sells it with the "mother" still in it (read on the net what that is). I have had an extreme problem with swelling in my legs, stomach and hands for yrs and yrs. It has been my life. Anyway, I started drinking 3 tbls in a glass of water before meals. I could only eat twice a day because I felt full for hours and hours!! wonderful!! After a few days I had to get up repeatedly at night to urinate and I would go a gallon each time it seemed. I didn't even know I could hold that much. And my legs and feet swelled beyond belief. I did some research and figured I was detoxifying so I toughed it out and after about a week all the swelling went out of my legs, feet and hands and my stomach went down...I was astonished! And it did not come back until I went on a medication that upset my stomach so bad I couldn't drink the acv for 10 days. After a few days the hunger came back and after about 10 days so did the swelling. I'm now off the medication and back on the vinegar as of yesterday, and will let you know the outcome.

Oh yes, I also have a real bad problem with exhaling when I recline to do breathing relaxation exercises my doctor has me do for stress. It has made me miserable....Well guess what. After taking the vinegar a few days I could breath out normally!! And like the water retention and hunger returning after going off the acv, the trouble with breathing came back too... amazing.

Activated Charcoal
Posted by Killer Bees (Brisbane, Australia) on 05/15/2008

I had the same problem as Sharon from Santa Fe. I'm 42 now and for the last couple of years, I've had problems with everything I eat making me bloated and uncomfortable. I've tried everything I can think of, including elimination diets, with no luck. But activated charcoal really worked for me. I take 2 tabs in the morning and then 2 at night, each time about an hour after eating to give my body time to digest the meal's nutrients. I don't usually take it at lunch time because I only have soup or tea and that doesn't seem to upset me too much. I didn't have the diahorrea. My stools were solid and did change to a very dark brown/black and I felt very cleaned out. They passed more easily as well. I'll keep taking the tabs twice a day until I feel like I don't need them. My thanks to Sharon from Santa Fe for recommending this product. Girl, you rock!

EC: Read more about Charcoal.

Posted by Monet (Cincinnati, Ohio) on 05/02/2009

Hello, I use your site all of the time and want to thank you for such useful information!

Recently, my feet started swelling along with blood pressure spiking to very high levels. I do not have high blood pressure so I could not understand what was going on. By day three I figured out I had a tooth infection that was probably starting to seep into my blood causing the swelling, blood pressure spikes, tingling in head, legs, and feet. After speaking with a dentist who felt they were unrelated and would not give me any advice on whether I should go to the ER, I decided to use garlic infused with yogurt (yogurt helps it go down easier). I took about 1 T. of crushed garlic and 1 T. of yogurt. Within 5 minutes the swelling in my feet went away and I felt my blood pressure had gone down. I took my blood pressure and it had dropped over 50 points! Obviously, the blood pressure spikes were brought on by the tooth infection, unbeknownst to the young Dentist!!!

I cook with garlic all of the time, but RAW GARLIC is terrific for blood pressure and infections!!!


Posted by Adeline (Los Angeles, CA) on 12/07/2008

I ate 1 raw clove of garlic hoping to kill some bacteria (an unrelated cure I had read about here and was trying) An unexpected side effect: I woke up the next day feeling happier than I have in a long time. Energetic. I felt trimmer. I felt like I had been carrying around a dress size worth of water and it was gone. I'm starting to think garlic is a miracle food. I think it's cured my infection and happily I think it will be the cure to my chronic bloating. Thanks for the site!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Not A Happy Chique (Seattle, Wa) on 07/23/2011

Apple Cider Vinegar was the reason that I got bloated :/ any cures for that?

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Lauren (Redondo Beach, CA) on 04/01/2009

This is in response to the swollen hands, wrist... This exact same thing was happening to me since I was 18 years old. I saw every doctor under the sun, and had many many tests done on me, only to have the doctors tell me everything came back normal. After much research done on my own, and at a total loss for how to help myself and how to cure the pain of swollen fingers, I read about people with gluten allergies experiencing some of the same symptoms as myself. I already knew that I was lactose intolerant and decided to cut out anything containing Wheat, Barley, Malt, Oats, and anything with Vital Wheat Gluten in the ingredient list. Almost immediately all my symptoms went away. The most noticeable difference was the swelling has completely disappeared. I have been free of these ingredients (with some mishaps) for about a year now, and have been completely free of all horrible symptoms previously unexplained. Personally I believe that doctors need to be better educated on food allergies and how they can affect the body. Doctors knew there was something wrong with me. I even had a doctor take pictures of my swollen hands that were covered in lesions. I had the leisions biopsied and the pictures sent to the best doctors around the US and no one could explain it. The only thing that has made this go away is not eating Wheat etc. It is sad at first because you feel deprived but you learn of yummy alternatives to your favorite foods.
Try eliminating these things from your diet. If it works, GREAT! It's worth a shot.

Good Luck!

Multiple Remedies
Posted by Anonymous (USA) on 11/25/2013

Eating large meals can put stress on the liver and cause bloating, eat smaller lighter meals. Get more vitamin A, like in carrot juice and parsley.

Don't eat wheat, milk or sugar.

Coffee is a diuretic, but if you use it too much it can cause bloating because it causes your body to want to retain salt. It is also said to suppress the body's healing process and to leach minerals from bones and create an overly acidic body. It can raise your blood pressure to the extent that the tiny blood vessels in your eyes and kidneys can be damaged. It also impairs memory because it puts your body in the "fight or flight" mode - a type of "overdrive" which naturally changes how you remember things.

Don't take aspirin, especially with coffee on an empty stomach. It can cause ulcers in the stomach. If you dissolve the aspirin in water and drink it it is less likely to cause an ulcer.

Take kelp powder, spirulina, hemp seed powder, eat fresh parsley, fresh broccoli. Eat raw cucumbers, squash and pumpkin. Try raw eggs if you're brave, whole milk cottage cheese, 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp. ginger powder in hot milk. Hot milk with 1/2 tsp. cumin powder.

If you have bloating from leaky gut avoid scratchy foods like popcorn, crushed black pepper granules, strawberries (seeds), whole wheat bread. Don't take crushed flax seed.

Azithromiacin or another antibiotic may help if the bloating is from an infection.

Fennel seed tea, fresh apples help settle digestion.

Hawthorn and hibiscus may help, too.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ted (Bangkok, Thailand) on 08/25/2008 391 posts

Dear Tina:

The simple ACV remedy is a rather mild remedy for fluid retention. However the ones most people used is a mixture of ACV with baking soda, such as 2 tablespoon of ACV with 1/4 (or 1/2) teaspoon of baking soda in a half glass of water.

A stronger remedy that is easily found is in the green tea about a glass, although this may lead to some constipation if taken too much, but it is helpful in reducing certain internal congestions from fats.

A more stronger one that i used is dissolving 250 mg of lithium carbonate in a one liter of water and drink only just 1/4 glass of water 2 or 3 times a day. This at least for me is a powerful diuretic because a small amount of lithium displaces sodium in the body, much like a potassium would.

An electrolyte imbalance may also be the cause of fluid retention in which case, potassium bicarbonate or potassium citrate will help displace some sodium. Although this remedy requires 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate.

For an emergency remedy against a fluid retention is the taking of a laxative, where I prefer milk of magnesia taken as per instruction of the bottle. Those will cause reduction of fluids by laxative effect instead of the pressure put on kidneys. Most teas are also generally diuretic in effect too. A watermelon tea is also diuretic, if they do have it.

A fluid retention often is the congestion of certain organs sometimes it is the kidney sometimes it is the liver. A granulated lecithin therefore will help reduce some of those congestion.

Another simpler remedy that reduces some kidney congestion is simply an usweetened lemon juice mixed with water as the citric acid component or citrates when it is reacted with baking soda reduces calcium buildup in the kidney and help reduce fluid retention.

In some rare cases of liver congestion a hot castor oil pack on the liver or abdomen may help, or it is used only in small amount of castor oil to cause a laxative. When stools are loose fluid retention is reduced.

In many pharmaceutical applications in reducing fluid retention I have noticed they used digestive enzymes to reduce congestion by allowing these digestive enzymes to digest the congestions, such as liver and other areas. Common digestive enzymes for me is lemon, papaya, and digestive enzyme supplements sold in some health food stores are also convenient. Eating watermelon is also diuretic.

In the long run reducing congestions is most helpful especially from liver cirrhosis and fatty liver buildup and supplementing of lecithin 1 tabelspoon three times a day helps. In event the fluid retention also have varicose veins, then it might be quercetin and curcumin due to excessive blood thickening congestion which leads to fluid retention. Lavender applied to the kidney or lavender tea might help in relieving circulation or inflammation of the kidneys.


Posted by Doris (Santa Ana, CA USA) on 04/08/2008

Have always drank lots of coffee w/sugars, syrups, dairy. This year, bloating began. Starting reading about stomach and bile and acid-sugar-alkaline balances and how stomach, gall bladder, liver, small intestines deal with it. Found your apple juice, acv info. ACV was a bit harsh last week, at 1 tsp each acv w/slight honey or water. This week bloating was very uncomfortable to point of constant distraction. Found on your site to take avc or apple juice or eat an apple to regulate acid balance. Took lots of antacids today, no help, bloating was worse. Ate a very small apple at 9pm tonite and 20 minutes later, bloating almost ALL GONE. Had the rest and feel like a million. Thank you for this site teaching me what to revise in my diet, to fix these things.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Uma (Gibraltar, Spain) on 12/11/2006

I take ACV 2TBS in 8oz water taking sips all through the day. I was bloated all month and had water retention 10 days before my period. I was miserable i tried everything , diet change , pills homeopathic, and my husband is a physician and he gave all kind of medicines but still everything just could not solve my problem. i was annoyed all the time becuase i do not know what my exact size was and i was restless all the ime , never comfortable, in sitting or lying down. Then looking for cure on internet in homeopathy somebody mentioned earth clinic, and i went to the site, and from that day my life changed. After reading about ACV I got up and mix one TS in one glass of water and without thinking i drank it . After 10 minutes my head suddenly clear and then my migraine was gone which I have been having for the last 10 years every week and i do not know how many pandols i have taken for that.----Well for the last 2 months, I am bloat free, water retention free, migraine free, and i am feeling comfortable for the first time in last 10 years. I have lost 10 pounds and I know my exact size now. Plus I had very bad dandruff and hair acne and twice a week I have been washing my hair with ACV and after two months I am free of dandruff and acne. There was no change initially except my migrain was gone but suddenly after one month before my periods i started noticing changes. No bloatedness and water retention and i had lost weight. I am thankful to all of u, whoever started this site. This has truly helped me. My doctor husband cannot believe it.

Just try it. Even if u don't see results initially it will show some benefits, later. I am hooked for life and i am giving it to my teenager son and daughter.

Check for Low Stomach Acid
Posted by A.C. (Las Vegas, Nevada) on 04/09/2017

For Fluid Retention: Get a stomach acid test. Most people suffer from leaky gut and low stomach acid production and don't even know it. Causes things like Diabetes and a myriad of other problems. If your body does not make enough acid it has a hard time breaking down proteins, and does not signal to the pancreas to release enzymes etc... Lots of things to consider here

Posted by Kasra (Terhan, Iran) on 10/22/2015

Remedy for Foamy Saliva, Excessive Saliva Production, Bloating

Saliva is foamy because there are many air bubbles in it , and air bubbles are result of dehydration , when you're dehydrated your salivary glands can't make saliva properly, so because of lack of water there are much air bubbles in it ..

Your body produce saliva to help digesting the food, when your stomach can't digest the food, body produce saliva ( ofcourse it is not the only reason of saliva excretion , but this is one of many ) to help your upset stomach ..

My history:

I'm suffering from esophagitis caused by gerd and duodenitis .. Even drinking water itself made me feel bloated ..

How I stopped saliva production:

As I even wasn't able to drink water without getting sick , I used to put a glass of water beside me, and sipping on it every once in awhile , specially right after I felt bloated or burp painfully, just after some days I got better, no more foamy saliva in my mouth and saliva production completely went away and I never felt bloated that bad again, and everytime felt a bit bloated, just sipped on water and everything came back to normal so fast cause now I know what my body is trying to tell me ..

Hope it helps somebody cause this situation really hurts and interferes with life activities ..

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 02/04/2014

Dear Lisa,

Sometimes when my children need to take apple cider vinegar they just take it straight. Personally, I can't bear it. But they don't want to draw it out. So, yes, I think you can take 2 capfuls straight. Ideally you will follow with water, though. I do think in general, it works best to just have some vinegar water throughout the day, but taking it straight does help often times.

You might look into dandelion root - it is good for water retention.

I hope you feel better soon!

~Mama to Many~

Avoid Grains, Potatoes
Posted by Gloria (Brentwood, Ny, Usa) on 05/25/2011

I have suffered of water retention all my life and no doctor could help me. Finally after reading a lot of books and doing trial and error with my body I'm at peace with my body. I even become a hypnotherapist trying to get some answers and I did.

My answer to inflammation, swelling, bloating, etc is to give up all the white stuff: everything made with wheat, potatos (big culprit), rice, excess sugar or replacements and grains as a whole. I know for some people it's not easy but at the same time it's easier than it seems. I increased proteins (chicken, fish, beef) consumption and vegetables and fruits. The more protein the less cravings yo have.

Do you see animals eating grains in the wild? Maybe I am wrong, but animals in nature eat each other or they eat plants, leaves, fruits, seeds and other animal's eggs.

Grains are hard to digest, we need to take out the bran in order to eat them (as rice, oats, wheat, etc) or soak them for hours to soften them (chicken peas, beans, etc). I wonder: Is it nature trying to tell us something? Anyway, let me assure you: If you really want to improve your health forget at least about everything and I mean everything made with wheat and avoid potatos and rice at least.

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