Idiopathic oedema of women

John D. Firth

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Idiopathic oedema of women

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Idiopathic oedema is an unsatisfactory label that is applied to women who complain of swelling, typically variable, with diagnosis requiring exclusion of known causes of oedema and (most authors would agree) demonstration of weight gain, from morning to evening, of more than 1.4 kg.

The cause of idiopathic oedema is (by definition) unknown, but the blood vessels of affected women are more permeable to albumin than normal. There is no clear relationship to the menstrual cycle. Use and abuse of diuretics can complicate and exacerbate the problem.

Management is difficult, but patients can be helped by a sympathetic approach from the physician and (1) encouragement to lose weight if they are obese, (2) avoidance of excess dietary salt, (3) weaning from consumption of high doses of diuretics that can cause or exacerbate the tiredness, lethargy, weakness, and dizziness that are suffered by many.

Chapter.  1707 words. 

Subjects: Cardiovascular Medicine

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