Causes of edema of the legs in women

Edema – excessive accumulation of fluid in tissues or cavities. In women, the swelling may occur during pregnancy, and be one of the symptoms of the disease.

Pasty – unexpressed edema, in which the looseness of the tissues increases slightly. The skin in these areas turns pale and becomes soft. Visually observe the pastosity of the tissues is not always as obvious oedema may not be.

Why is there swelling?

Violation of the outflow of fluid and tissue retention can occur for a variety of reasons. There are three main mechanisms of development of edema:

  • violations of the capillary or the venous circulation;
  • problems in the lymphatic drainage;
  • failures in excretory renal function.

Types of edema

Depending on the mechanism of development of pathology following types of edema:

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  • hydrostatic (appear due to the increase in pressure in the small blood vessels, capillaries);
  • hypoproteinemia (result from reducing the number of protein fractions in blood plasma and thus reducing colloid osmotic pressure, which fluid is free to leave the bloodstream and go into tissue);
  • membranophone (appear due to toxic damage to the capillaries);
  • swelling that accompany inflammation, or Allergy.
  • neurogenic (formed in violation of the nervous regulation).

Depending on the cause of the distinction of the swelling:

  • orthostatic (occur due to long stay of the body in a certain position);
  • idiopathic (the cause of edema is not clear);
  • nephrotic (accompany diseases of the kidneys);
  • the system (considered as symptom of systemic diseases);
  • lymph (there is a pathological accumulation of lymph);
  • heart (a sign of diseases of the cardiovascular system).

In addition to the etiological classification, there are local and General edema, and also acute and chronic. Local swelling have a clear localization. They may only be distributed within the boundaries of a particular organ or area of the body. General swelling are generalized. Their appearance is usually preceded by the accumulation of large amounts of fluid in the body.

Acute edema develops quickly – within 2 – 3 days. Chronic appear systematically and indicate the presence of serious pathology in the body. Localization of edema are bilateral and unilateral. Unilateral swelling may be a symptom of the following diseases:

  • thrombosis of the veins;
  • trauma or fracture;
  • the consequence of removed lymph nodes in the groin;
  • diseases of the joints of the feet.

Bilateral swelling indicate diseases of the cardiovascular system or kidney decompensation, can develop in venous insufficiency. The differences between the edema associated with the violation of the lymphatic drainage and arising on a background of insufficient blood circulation

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  • Lymphedema (lymphoedema) is a violation of lymph drainage as a result of hypoplasia, obstruction or destruction of lymphatic vessels. Swelling is not accompanied by pain, firm to the touch. One of the diagnostic signs – a symptom of Kaposi’s-Stemmer in which it is impossible to take the skin fold at the base of the second finger on the dorsal side of the foot.
  • Swelling insufficient blood circulation develops due to increased capillary permeability and lack of proper drainage. Unlike lymphedema are swelling in the initial stage of disease is a transient phenomenon. That is, they can decrease if to give the feet rest.
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Factors that can provoke swelling in a healthy person

Swelling of the legs may not be a symptom of the disease, and to occur under certain circumstances. In this case we are talking about temporary swelling, which can lead to a number of reasons:

  • bad habits and poor nutrition – fatty, salty foods, and eating at night large amounts of fluid;
  • uncomfortable shoes narrow, tight, high-heeled shoes;
  • sedentary work or being in an uncomfortable position for a long time;
  • excessive physical load;
  • long stay on his feet – the costs of occupation (e.g., hairdressers, makeup artists, salespeople);
  • the excess body weight.

In such cases, it is sufficient to eliminate the factor causing the poor circulation to swelling gone.

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Acute swelling of the lower extremities

  • Swelling in deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities. Varicose veins – a common cause of swelling in the lower extremities. With the disease of blood vessel walls undergo irreversible changes in texture, the lumen expands them, there are nodes. Thrombosis can occur due to prolonged observance of bed rest, with immobilization of the limb after radiotherapy or chemotherapy in patients with cancer. In addition to swelling, other signs of thrombosis are frequent cramping calf muscles and the appearance of spider veins. Lower leg or foot become bluish color. In the affected limb appears sharp pain. Skin of legs cold, pronounced muscle soreness.
  • Swelling in leg injuries. Any injury – bruise, sprain, fracture is accompanied by swelling and severe pain at the site of injury.
  • Acute venous insufficiency. Swelling develops as a result of decompensation of the problems of venous outflow of blood. Can occur during pregnancy, increased intra-abdominal pressure, which increases with constipation or excessive exercise, but also during the flight in the plane. Such edema is always bilateral in nature. There is fatigue of the legs and pain after physical exertion.
  • Swelling in the joints. Arthritis of any etiology – rheumatic, reactive, rheumatoid, infectious, arthritic – it may be swelling. Related signs of arthritis and most joint pathologies, pain and limitation of joint mobility.
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  • Edema accompanying inflammatory diseases. Any inflammatory process can proceed with the development of swelling in the hearth. The most pronounced swelling erysipelas, abrasions, panaritiums osteomyelitis.
  • Allergic swelling. Household chemicals, food, wool – that’s why, often swollen feet Allergy. Unlike other edema this swelling is accompanied by redness of the skin and intense itching.

Chronic edema of the lower extremities

  • Chronic venous insufficiency and varicose disease of the lower extremities. The main cause of chronic edema. In their guilty appearance of venous valves which no longer cope with their work. Under the blood pressure blood vessels stretch and become thinner, making the liquid easier to penetrate into the interstitial space. Gradually formed varices, there trophic ulcers and oozing, appear brown spots (deposits of hemosiderin – dark-yellow pigment formed in the breakdown of hemoglobin). The disease diagnosis is carried out using a Doppler study.
  • Edema in chronic heart failure. Accompany many cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, arrhythmia, angina, cardiomyopathy, and inflammation in the tissues of the heart). The swelling is bilateral in nature. First swell of the foot, then ankle and calf. If you do not start treatment of the disease, the swelling may spread higher and higher, gradually involving the tissue of the thigh. The first time the swelling is visible only in the morning. During the day it disappears, but the progression of the pathology of the swelling in the future don’t come off even after long periods of rest. Apart from swelling, the patient at the site of swelling may feel numbness, tingling and pain. When pressed on the skin remains a hole, which very slowly disappears. Changes are observed in the General state – shortness of breath and fatigue when walking. Gradually increase the liver in the abdominal cavity accumulates fluid. For the diagnosis it is necessary to conduct echocardiography.
  • Edema in pathological processes in the lungs. Congenital malformations of the respiratory type, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia is not a complete list of diseases of the respiratory system in which edema, including feet. They develop due to chronic pulmonary arterial hypertension. This increases the load on the heart, there is acute right ventricular failure. As a result, there are difficulties in the movement of blood in a small circle of blood circulation. Then begins to suffer the systemic circulation, there is a failure in blood flow throughout the body. Over time, the swelling may occur anywhere. Diagnosis is made by echocardiography.
  • Edema in renal diseases with renal failure or nephrotic syndrome. Conditionally they can be divided into two groups – nephritic (main reason – a violation of blood circulation in the kidney) and nephrotic (due to the change in oncotic pressure). Pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis, amyloidosis, interstitial nephritis, arteriosclerosis of the renal arteries and tumors – basic pathology, accompanied by the appearance of edema in the legs. They usually occur in the morning, with pasty face and throughout the day pass.
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  • Pathological processes in the liver, accompanied by hepatocellular disease (cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, liver cancer) can also be causes of swelling in the legs. There are two mechanisms of development of edema in pathologies of the liver: an imbalance of globulins and albumins in the blood and portal hypertension. When this occurs, the dilatation of the esophagus and hemorrhoidal plexus, appears ascites, enlarged spleen, and bleeding tendency.
  • Swelling during pregnancy and excessive obesity. Swelling of the lower extremities and of the fingers is one of the earliest and most common signs of late toxicosis in pregnant women. When obesity and pregnancy can also develop the syndrome of the inferior Vena cava, the squeezing of uterus or fat, which causes swelling.
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Swelling of the feet after taking drugs

In addition to the banal allergic edema there are many cases where swelling of the feet causes medications, such as:

  • glucocorticoids;
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • beta-blockers;
  • drugs for the treatment of diabetes;
  • calcium antagonists;
  • testosterone, estrogens, oral contraceptives.

Pathology, in which swelling of the lower extremities are rare

Disturbances in the metabolism – the main reason this group of edema. The mechanism of development – changes in oncotic pressure of plasma due to an imbalance of different protein fractions.

  • Starvation, enteropathy, inadequate therapy for dehydration. In all of these situations occurs malabsorption. Atrophy of the villi of the mucous membrane and diarrhea lead to transient loss of protein which only in small amounts absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, developing dysproteinemias swelling.
  • Hypothyroidism. Myxedema – extreme hypothyroidism. In this pathology, the thyroid gland generates almost no hormones, and therefore, they do not enter the bloodstream. The result of this failure is a violation of protein metabolism. Edema in myxedema dense, clicking on them, the hole does not appear. Associated symptoms – dry skin, falling hair, brittle nails. Swellings appear not only on the feet, but also on the face. The patient experiences constant sleepiness, his behavior is often inhibited.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy and restrictive pericarditis. In these diseases excessive growth of connective tissue, which causes poor circulation and as a consequence heart failure with congestive phenomena.
  • Syndrome the iliac vein and congenital malformations of the veins. This is the most rare causes of edema of the lower extremities.
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Swelling that develops only in women

Swelling in this group are due to the peculiarities of the female hormonal cycle. There are several types:

  • swelling that accompany premenstrual syndrome (arise from the decrease in hormone levels);
  • idiopathic edema in women in menopause or postmenopause (this increases the mass of the body and develops a depressive syndrome);
  • postpartum swelling (if the pregnancy has led to the development of venous pathologies).

Causes of edema of the legs in women are very numerous. They can be a symptom of the disease, and to develop on a background of health. To establish the true cause can only be a doctor after a complete examination of the patient.