Diuretic pills are used for increasing the excretion of sodium and excess water from the body. They are mainly used for treating fluid retention and high blood pressure. This article discusses some of the important aspects of diuretics, so as to give you a better idea about these medications.
Diuretic pills, also known as water pills, are a type of drug that is primarily used for facilitating the excretion of excess fluid from the body. When excess water is retained by the body, it is known as fluid or water retention, which can manifest in swelling or edema. Edema can more commonly affect the feet, legs, arms, hands, and the abdominal area. Water pills can help reduce swelling caused by fluid retention, and lower blood pressure by expelling excess water from the body. They are basically used for the treatment of fluid retention, high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney and liver diseases, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Types of Water Pills
There are mainly three types of diuretics, and these are known as loop diuretics, thiazides, and potassium-sparing diuretics. Loop diuretics are used for preventing the reabsorption of sodium by the body, which results in an increase in urine output. Thiazides promote the retention of water in the urine. Potassium-sparing diuretics on the other hand, help the body retain potassium while expelling sodium and excess water.
How Do They Work?
Diuretic pills mainly act on the kidneys to remove excess water and sodium from the body. They stimulate the kidneys to expel sodium, which in turn helps excrete excess water from the body. The elimination of excess water from the body results in a decrease in blood volume, which lowers blood pressure. This in turn helps the heart work more efficiently. These pills can also help reduce weight temporarily. In fact, many people use them for losing weight, but the effects of these medications last as long as they are used. People using these pills usually regain weight once these medications are discontinued.
Apart from the conventional water pills, there are certain food and herbs that have diuretic properties. Such food and herbs can help eliminate excess water from the body. Many people therefore, use natural diuretics for high blood pressure and water retention. One of the most popular natural diuretics is caffeine that can be found in coffee beans and certain plants. Other natural diuretics are, parsley, bearberry, garlic, celery seeds, sage, dandelion, fennel, goldenseal, chicory, skullcap, and yarrow. These herbs can be found in many natural water pills.
Like other medications, diuretics including the herbal ones, can cause a few side effects, when they are not used with caution. Some of the common side effects that people can experience while using these drugs are, frequent urination, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, restlessness, confusion, and abnormal heart rhythm. Women can experience menstrual irregularities while using diuretics. Their overuse can lower sodium to a significantly low level and increase the level of blood sugar.
Therefore, it is advisable to take water pills, and diuretic herbs and their preparations only under the supervision of a physician. As these pills increase urine output, people taking these medications should drink enough water to prevent dehydration. It is also important to take potassium supplements or include potassium-rich food in the diet while using water pills, unless you are using the potassium-sparing diuretics. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take water pills without consulting their physicians. Similarly, people using any other medications should inform their physicians before using diuretics.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.