You can treat edema by treating the underlying cause of the swelling, as swelling is often a symptom rather than an issue by itself, says WebMD. However, to treat mild edema, elevate the affected area above heart level, exercise and decrease sodium intake.
Edema occurs when the capillaries in an area leak fluid into the surrounding tissues. Edema is caused by allergic reactions, prolonged periods of standing or sitting, or pregnancy. It is also a possible symptom of more serious conditions such as liver disease and blood clots. Those experiencing prolonged edema should see their doctor to discover the underlying cause, especially if the edema is accompanied by shortness of breath, chest paint or leg pain, according to Mayo Clinic.
Mild edema often goes away on its own. For relief, elevate the affected area above the heart rate to help the fluid drain back to the heart. Exercise and movement also help and may encourage the excess fluid to pump back to the heart. Those suffering may want to try compression garments. The tightness prevents the collection of fluid in the area, says Mayo Clinic.
Severe edema may require the use of over-the-counter or prescription diuretics to help the body expel the excess water, says Mayo Clinic.