What Causes Water Retention When Sick?

by Jay | Updated on November 17th, 2022

Extra water weight when sick with a cold? Is it normal to experience water retention when ill? What causes water retention when sick? We will be answering all these questions here in this piece. So, if you have a query about your body getting bloated when sick, keep reading to learn more.

Water retention when sick

water retention

If you experience water retention when sick, you are not alone. Many people experience the same when not feeling well `for one or more reasons. If not sure why you experience water retention when sick, check out our list of facts below for more information.

Water Retention

Not staying hydrated when sick.

Wondering how this is possible? This is what happens. If you don’t take enough water (at least eight glasses of water a day), your body will hold more water because it feels like it needs to stay healthy. So, any time you are sick and not taking enough water, your body could respond by holding more and more water. Keep in mind that hydrating also speeds up healing.

Not exercising as usual.


When sick, in most cases, you will be required to rest to recover fast. No going to the gym, jogging, biking, and so on. If you exercise often, you may notice holding onto more water because you are not working out to shed that water weight as much as you normally do. Luckily, your body will return to its usual self once you recover.

Inflammation contributes to water retention.

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When you catch a cold, your mucous membrane is likely inflamed. Virus infection is also likely to inflame your stomach. In these two cases, your body is more likely to retain water to combat these illnesses.

If you are in a position to treat the inflammation, you are likely to see the retained water dwindling. One thing to note is that dealing with inflammation related to being sick can take time, specifically those about the stuffy head or sore throat. So be patient; the swelling will dwindle with time.

Change of diet while sick

When sick, most people find themselves unable to eat, which results in them getting into “starvation mode.” Once the body gets into starvation mode, it retains water as it does when it feels dehydrated. Again, if you eat a lot of food, especially food that is high in sodium, your body will respond by holding more water. So, consider eating healthy when sick to avert water retention.

Medications you are taking can make a difference.

Sometimes water retention could be a result of the drugs you are taking. Both over-the-counter and prescribed medication can be the cause. If you take the medicines for a short period and stop using them once you recover, there is no need to worry. Just be patient; your body will get back to normal.


Do you feel we have addressed the issue of water retention when sick well? Any questions you feel we need to revisit? As you can see, many possible causes result in that bloated feeling. A bug in the stomach, flu, drugs and excess sodium are some of the possible reasons. Fortunately, water retention dwindles as your body gets to its usual self in almost every situation.

If you nurture a habit of hydrating your body well and eating healthy, likely, you will never experience water retention when sick.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."