Everyone knows that a bag of salty fries and a big Mac can make your ankles swell up like fire hydrants because the body so wants to dilute the salt that it traps fluid in bod tissues but did you know that antidepressants can also be part of the problem?
Water retention can have many causes such as a long flight on a plane, hormonal changes during menstruation, standing for long stints, pregnancy. Even a hot day can cause swelling. Venous insufficiency is part of the cause and too. When this happens it damages valves in the legs’ which hinders blood flow back to the heart. Hence, fluid collects in the legs and feet. This is called edema. Damaged veins then leak fluid (blood plasma that is mostly water) into nearby tissue. Sometimes edema is caused by heart, kidney or liver disease. When this happens water accumulates in the lungs, abdomen and elsewhere.
Peripheral edema, term for swelling or fluid buildup in the lower legs or hands, can also be induce by pharmaceutical SSRI antidepressants like: Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Xanax, Wellbutrin, Celexa and Effexor. Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and the antianxiety drug Xanax can as well. Nortriptyline Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, Advil and Aleve can also aggravate edema. So can the diabetes drugs Actos and Avandia. Two classes of blood pressure medications can also aggravate edema as well as calcium-channel blockers Amlodipine and Norvasc. ACE inhibitors such as Enalapril, Vasotec and Lisinopril and Prinivil.
During sleep the body can re-absorb some excess fluid. But, we should all be concerned if swelling continues or worsens, especially if it is accompanied by shortness of breath as this probably indicates a life-threatening condition such as heart failure or kidney, liver or thyroid disease. In the case of heart failure, the abdomen, legs and lungs swell because the heart is too weak to pump blood. That allows fluid to accumulate.