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Oedema (dropsy, fluid retention in the body, swelling, Pitting, Edema) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Oedema?

Edema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body's tissues. Although edema can affect any part of your body, you may notice it more in your hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs.

Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy or an underlying disease ? often congestive heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.

Taking medication to remove excess fluid and reducing the amount of salt in your food often relieves edema. When edema is a sign of an underlying disease, the disease itself requires separate treatment. "Edema"is the medical term for swelling. Body parts swell from injury or inflammation. It can affect a small area or the entire body. Medications, pregnancy, infections, and many other medical problems can cause edema.

Edema happens when your small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissues. That extra fluid builds up, which makes the tissue swell. It can happen almost anywhere in the body. Edema is swelling that occurs when too much fluid becomes trapped in the tissues of the body, particularly the skin.

Types of Edema:

Peripheral edema. This usually affects the legs, feet, and ankles, but it can also happen in the arms. It could be a sign of problems with your circulatory system, lymph nodes, or kidneys.

Pedal edema. This happens when fluid gathers in your feet and lower legs. It?s more common if you?re older or pregnant. It can make it harder to move around in part because you may not have as much feeling in your feet.

Lymphedema. This swelling in the arms and legs is most often caused by damage to your lymph nodes, tissues that help filter germs and waste from your body. The damage may be the result of cancer treatments like surgery and radiation. The cancer itself can also block lymph nodes and lead to fluid buildup.

Pulmonary edema. When fluid collects in the air sacs in your lungs, you have pulmonary edema. That makes it hard for you to breathe, and it?s worse when you lie down. You may have a fast heartbeat, feel suffocated, and cough up a foamy spittle, sometimes with blood. If it happens suddenly, call 911.

Cerebral edema. This is a very serious condition in which fluid builds up in the brain. It can happen if you hit your head hard, if a blood vessel gets blocked or bursts, or you have a tumor or allergic reaction.

Macular edema. This happens when fluid builds up in a part of your eye called the macula, which is in the center of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It happens when damaged blood vessels in the retina leak fluid into the area.

Oedema is also known as dropsy, fluid retention in the body, swelling, Pitting, Edema. Peripheral edema, Pedal edema, Lymphedema, Pulmonary edema, Cerebral edema and Macular edema are some common types of Oedema. Generally Male, Female, Child are the victim of the Oedema. Seriousness of this disease is Low.

Symptoms of Oedema are :

  • skin that retains a dimple after being pressed for a few seconds
  • shiny skin
  • stretched skin
  • swollen skin
  • itchy skin
  • Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is an irritating and uncontrollable sensation that makes you want to scratch to relieve the feeling. The possible causes for itchiness include internal illnesses and skin conditions.

  • high blood pressure 
  • High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

  • upset stomach
  • puffy face
  • Weight gain
  • Weight gain can result from an increase in body fluid, muscle mass, or fat. An increase in body fluid can come from medications, fluid and salt retention, intravenous fluid infusion, kidney or heart failure. An increase in muscle mass is commonly seen with exercising. An increase in body fat is commonly seen as a result of diet or lack of exercise as the body converts muscle to fat. An excessive weight gain is referred to as obesity. Obesity is a function of environmental (diet, exercise, lifestyle, etc.), hormonal, and inherited (genetic) factors in varying degrees. Weight gain is a normal part of pregnancy.

  • Pale skin
  • Joint Stiffnes
  • Delirium and confusion
  • Weight loss
  • Sudden, noticeable weight loss can happen after a stressful event, although it can also be a sign of a serious illness.

    It's normal to lose a noticeable amount of weight after the stress of changing jobs, divorce, redundancy or bereavement.

    Weight often returns to normal when you start to feel happier, after you've had time to grieve or get used to the change. Counselling and support may be needed to help you get to this stage.

    Significant weight loss can also be the result of an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. If you think you have an eating disorder, talk to someone you trust and consider speaking to your GP. There are also several organisations that can provide you with information and advice, such as the eating disorders charity Beat.

    If your weight loss wasn't due to one of the causes mentioned, and you didn't lose weight through dieting or exercising, see your GP, as you may have an illness that needs treating.

  • abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain has many potential causes. The most common causes ? such as gas pains, indigestion or a pulled muscle ? usually aren't serious. Other conditions may require more-urgent medical attention.

    While the location and pattern of abdominal pain can provide important clues, its time course is particularly useful when determining its cause.

    Acute abdominal pain develops, and often resolves, over a few hours to a few days. Chronic abdominal pain may be intermittent, or episodic, meaning it may come and go. This type of pain may be present for weeks to months, or even years. Some conditions cause progressive pain, which steadily gets worse over time.

  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting, or throwing up, is a forceful discharge of stomach contents. It can be a one-time event linked to something that doesn?t settle right in the stomach. Recurrent vomiting may be caused by underlying medical conditions.

    Frequent vomiting may also lead to dehydration, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.

  • Nausea
  • Nausea and vomiting are common signs and symptoms that can be caused by numerous conditions. Nausea and vomiting most often are due to viral gastroenteritis ? often mistakenly called stomach flu ? or the morning sickness of early pregnancy.

    Many medications can cause nausea and vomiting, as can general anesthesia for surgery. Rarely, nausea and vomiting may indicate a serious or even life-threatening problem.

  • Severe Headache
  • Headaches are a common health problem ? most people experience them at some time.

    Factors that lead to headaches may be:

    Frequent or severe headaches can affect a person?s quality of life. Knowing how to recognize the cause of a headache can help a person take appropriate action.


    Oedema can be caused due to:

    Oedema is often a symptom of an underlying health condition. It can occur as a result of the following conditions or treatments:

    Oedema that occurs in the leg may be caused by:

    • a blood clot
    • varicose veins
    • a growth or cyst
    • Steroid drugs
    • Estrogens
    • Certain diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones

    Oedema can also sometimes occur as a result of:

    • being immobile for long periods
    • hot weather
    • exposure to high altitudes
    • burns to the skin
    • Eating too much salty food

    What kind of precaution should be taken in Oedema?

    • This can be difficult and unrewarding.
    • Certain types of breeding animals may be more susceptible and mortalities in such cases may rise to 25% or more.
    • Reduce piglet exposure to the E. coli during sucking. Adopt all the procedures in the farrowing house for the control of scour in the sucking pig.
    • Consider the use of an autogenous vaccine in sows to raise colostral antibodies and block out infection in the sucking pig. This has been effective on a few farms.
    • Assess the effects of no creep feeding pre-weaning.
    • Restrict feed intake post-weaning.
    • Assess the effects of different diets and feeding routines.
    • Reduce the nutrient composition of the diet by increasing the fibre content by 10 to 15%.
    • If the problem is a major one and it continues, consider a change of genotype. Some strains of pig are more resistant than others.
    • Lower or alter the age of weaning.
    • Alter the environment at weaning time.
    • Asses the effects of adding 3% of milk powder to the diet.
    • Assess the effects of zinc oxide to the diet at a level of 2500ppm zinc.

    Treatment for the Oedema


    This is made from the typical clinical signs, the sudden appearance of disease after weaning, post-mortem examinations showing oedema of the greater curvature of the stomach wall, coiled colon, and eyelids and isolation of the haemolytic E. coli serotypes from the duodenum (anterior small intestine).

    Your doctor can tell whether you have edema by examining you. The skin over the swollen area may be stretched and shiny. Pushing gently on the swollen area for about 15 seconds will leave a dimple. If this happens, your doctor might want to do some tests to see what is causing your edema.

    To understand what might be causing your edema, your doctor will first perform a physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history. This information is often enough to determine the underlying cause of your edema. In some cases, X-rays, ultrasound exams, magnetic resonance imaging, blood tests or urine analysis may be necessary.


    By the time the clinical signs are seen it is often too late and most pigs die. Treatment routines are aimed at preventing the organism establishing itself and also reducing the weight of infection. The general principles of controlling coliform infections and post-weaning diarrhoea should be followed.

    • Isolate the organism and determine the antibiotic sensitivity.
    • Identify the stage (e.g. 10 days post-weaning) when disease first appears and apply either in-feed or water medication 3 to 5 days before this.
    • In-feed antibiotics of value include apramycin 100g/tonne, framycetin 100g/tonne, neomycin 163g/tonne. Alternatively apramycin, neomycin or trimethoprim/sulpha can be used in the water.
    • Individual treatments give a poor response but flunixin will help to reduce the effects of toxins and diuretics can be used to remove fluid.

    It must be admitted however that the disease is most difficult to deal with and often preventative medication and treatment are unsuccessful.

    The only way to treat edema is to treat the condition that is causing it. Your doctor might want you to take a medicine called a diuretic. This is also called a water pill. These pills help flush salt and extra fluid out of your body through your urine.

    It is important to see your doctor if you have edema, especially if you are pregnant. If it is not treated, your skin may keep stretching. This can lead to other health problems. If you have edema and you start to have trouble breathing, call your doctor right away.

    Possible complication with Oedema

    Untreated edema can lead to:

    • painful swelling, with pain that gets worse
    • stiffness and difficulty walking
    • stretched and itchy skin
    • infection in the area of swelling
    • scarring between the layers of tissue
    • poor blood circulation
    • loss of elasticity in arteries, veins, and joints
    • ulcerats on the skin

    Any underlying disease or condition needs treatment to prevent it from becoming more serious.


    1 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159111#complications 2 https://thepigsite.com/disease-guide/oedema-disease-od-bowel-oedema 3 https://familydoctor.org/condition/edema/ 4 https://www.medicinenet.com/edema/article.htm 5 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/edema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20366532 6 https://www.your.md/condition/oedema 7 https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/edema-overview#3-8 8 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12564-edema/management-and-treatment 9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279409/ 10 https://patient.info/signs-symptoms/oedema-swelling