There are numerous symptoms of water or fluid retention in the body and hundreds of causes.

Swelling of the ankles is probably the commonest symptom. It is a problem that often occurs in women who are overweight, aged between thirty and fifty and on their feet a lot in the day. By itself it means nothing at all and the swelling will often disappear if the woman diets and loses weight and wears elastic stockings to help keep the swelling under control during the dieting.

But ankle swelling can mean other things. Accompanied by breath-lessness, for example, it can be a sign of heart failure and requires medical attention without too much delay. Accompanied by pain and perhaps some redness it can be a sign of a blood clot. Accompanied by swelling elsewhere it can mean kidney trouble or an allergic problem. You can see that if your ankle swelling needs treatment, the treatment needs to be prescribed by a doctor!

Swelling of the breasts, abdomen and legs often occurs just prior to a period. Water is retained and the result can be discomfort and even quite severe pain. The solution for premenstrual swelling may be hormonal, or it may involve the use of special diuretic pills designed to speed up the expulsion of fluid from the body. But a precise diagnosis is needed. The breasts can swell in other conditions. In pregnancy, for example, breast swelling and fullness is extremely common. Again you should not try treating yourself with diuretic tablets.

I am all in favour of home medicines, but I can think of nothing for which I would recommend products like Aqua Ban or Heath and Heather’s Diuretic Tablets.