What is a diuretic, what is it for and contraindications?

There are different conditions and disorders that can cause our body to retain more fluid than normal. It is what is commonly and popularly known as fluid retention, which is medically referred to as edema, consisting of excessive accumulation of fluids in different tissues.

We must bear in mind that water is the fundamental and most abundant element in our body. We find it in the intracellular fluid (inside the cells), and also in the extracellular fluid (the one outside the cells). In turn, we must mention the presence of interstitial fluid, which is the one that bathes the cells and plasma, which is the liquid that is part of the blood.

Thus, the organism has a system capable of regulating both the filtration and the reabsorption of water not only between these interstitial spaces, but also between the different blood vessels and tissues. It is a system that is based on two types of pressures. On the one hand we find the osmotic pressure, which is what tends to lead the most concentrated water to the least concentrated. And hydrostatic pressure, which is generated by the cardiovascular system itself.

In this way, when this system tends to fail and the water begins to infiltrate the different tissues of the body, it stays accumulated, producing what on this occasion is known as fluid retention.

Its causes are in fact very varied, and we can find both pathological and nonpathological causes. For example, the heat can dilate the blood vessels and favor water outflow from them, preventing the tissues from being able to absorb it. Being a long time standing or sitting can influence the accumulation of liquids, as well as maintain a diet rich in salt and with low protein content.

We can also find other causes that can be considered pathological. The most common are hormonal imbalances, or certain diseases such as venous, cardiac or renal insufficiency. In turn, it also influences the existence of poor blood circulation.

In these moments we find the diuretics, which are substances that are commonly used in the medical treatment of fluid retention or accumulation, since as we will see below, it helps our body to be more effective when it comes to eliminating water and sodium.

What are diuretics?

Explained more or less simply and above all quickly, we can define diuretics as all that substance capable of increasing the secretion and excretion of urine. That is, they facilitate or increase the elimination of urine.

They are especially useful in the medical treatment of fluid accumulation in the body, since they help reduce the volume of water by increasing the production of urine by the body. kidneys, to later eliminate it outside the body.

We can not only meet with diuretic medications -or diuretic drugs-, which are those expressly prescribed by the doctor for the treatment of fluid retention. Did you know that there are also foods with diuretic capacity that help increase diuresis in the body? This is the case, for example, of certain vegetables, fruits, and plants, which increase the action of the kidneys for the production of a greater amount of urine.

The same thing happens with certain drinks, as it could be the case of certain infusions and teas made with medicinal diuretic plants, as well as common drinks, such as mate or coffee.

What are diuretics for?

As we have seen, diuretics help to increase the diuresis of the organism, preventing, avoiding or reducing the excessive accumulation of fluids in tissues. But not only are they medically prescribed for the treatment of fluid retention.

In short, they are also used for conditions and disorders related to the appearance of edema, or that may influence its appearance.

For example, they are used medically in the treatment of high blood pressure, certain diseases or conditions of both the kidneys and the liver, heart failure, diabetes insipidus, or the prevention of kidney stones.

Main contraindications of diuretics: when are they not suitable to be taken?

Although diuretics are useful in the treatment of fluid retention, there are some contraindications that make their consumption is not recommended at certain times or under certain conditions. The most important are the following:

  • Hypotension or decompensation of blood pressure.
  • Dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
  • Consumption of alcohol. The use of diuretic drugs with alcoholic beverages is not advised, since alcohol already causes an excessive elimination of fluids in the organism.

Therefore, whenever a drug with diuretic action is going to be consumed, it is essential to ask our doctor. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor.

Pharmacology Tips Loop Diuretics Lasix (December 2022)