There are many different types of edema, but most think of this condition as water retention in the extremities, particularly the hands, feet and ankles. There is no specific cure for edema, which can be caused by many underlying conditions. Sometimes curing an underlying condition can relieve the edema. In other cases, the symptoms themselves can be effectively treated.
For example, it is not uncommon for women who are pregnant to have some edema in the feet and ankles. Normally, the cure for edema of this type is having a baby. Usually this ends any swelling problems.
For women who suffer from cyclical edema, which may first show up as fluid retention during menstruation, finding a cure for edema is much more difficult. Usually, diuretics like furosemide tend to reduce water retention. Lowering sodium in the diet may also be of help. Treatment may reduce symptoms but is not a cure. If one stopped taking medication, fluid retention would reassert itself. As well, some patients can experience a greater amount of fluid retention over time that is not adequately addressed by diuretics and reduced sodium diets.
Some conditions, like chronic irreversible heart failure, advanced kidney disease, and cirrhosis of the liver may cause chronic edema. When the underlying condition cannot be treated, fluid can collect not only in the extremities but also around the stomach, a condition called ascites. Ascites areas may be tapped to drain fluid and reduce overall swelling, but this is a temporary cure for edema.
When medical professionals can address the underlying causes of edema, then a cure may be possible. For example, a patient with compressed veins may have surgery that increases blood flow and stops edema. Early heart failure may be reversed through medication and lifestyle changes. This may result in less edema.
Even when an underlying condition can be treated, this may not result in a cure for edema. The tissues become used to fluid retention and are less resistant to extra fluid build up. In these cases, a cure may really mean treatment of continuing edema.
In many cases, however, treatment can significantly reduce symptoms. While treatment does not provide a cure, it can eliminate issues relating to the condition, and give patients greater comfort.