Dropsy: Definition, Causes, Types, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

It is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in tissues or in some body cavity.

It is known as a condition where there is accumulation or retention of fluid in the body under the skin, in the body cavities or interstitial spaces, which leads to its inflammation.

Any part of the body can be affected by Dropsy. However, the body areas most commonly affected by this condition are the ankles, feet and legs.

Causes of Dropsy

If there is an excess of fluid in the body, it is transferred to the blood and excreted through sweat, urine and feces. If there is any obstruction present in the circulatory system or if there is a thickening of the blood, then there is a decrease in oncotic pressure .

The function of oncotic pressure is to facilitate the circulation of fluid within the vessels. If there is any interruption in this, then it leads to fluid retention in the spaces between the tissues that cause swelling or inflammation.

Depending on the site of fluid retention, there are different types of Dropsy, such as peripheral edema, ascites , pulmonary edema and pleural effusion .

There are different causes for Dropsy. Some of them are physiological, while others are pathological.

One of the main causes of hydrops in women is pregnancy because the body tends to change depending on the gestation process, where hormones are affected along with physical changes, but this tends to change after the birth of the child .

Some of the other causes include liver cirrhosis , heart problems, deep vein thrombosis , the irregular menstrual cycle of women, certain medications and increased salt intake.

It also occurs when people sit in the same position for prolonged periods of time without acquiring other positions of relaxation or when standing for a long time.


There are several types of Dropsy, such as:

  • Peripheral edema: If there is accumulation or excess of fluid in the peripheral regions of the body, such as the ankles, feet and legs, then it is known as peripheral edema.
  • Ascites: if there is accumulation or excess of fluid in the abdominal cavity or in the peritoneal cavity, then it is known as ascites.
  • Pulmonary edema: if there is accumulation or excess of fluid in the interstitial spaces present between the alveoli of the lung, then it is known as pulmonary edema.
  • Periorbital edema: edema or periorbital edema is a condition in which a person has inflammation around the eyes after waking up in the morning, product of fluid retention.
  • Pleural effusion: if there is accumulation or excess of fluid in the pleural or pulmonary cavity, then it is known as pleural effusion.

Signs and Symptoms of Dropsy

This condition has the following symptoms:

  • Swelling and distension in the ankles, legs, feet and, in some cases, the face and hands.
  • The skin that is affected, becomes shiny and stretches in appearance, in some cases generates great discomfort.
  • Sting edema is present, that is; there is a dimple or depression in the skin if pressure is applied to it.
  • Depending on the underlying cause of the Dropsy, the patient may experience symptoms of dyspnea , pain in the abdomen, decreased urination and chest pain.


Treatment for Dropsy depends on its underlying cause and consists of medications, such as diuretics and antihypertensives.

The Dropsy does not always have to be a serious problem and many times the treatment at home is enough to alleviate it.

Home remedies for Dropsy

Salt intake should be reduced, since salt generates water retention in the body and worsens the symptoms of Dropsy.

When sitting, the legs should be kept elevated, as this helps the blood flow to the heart by gravity and decreases the symptoms of this condition.

Walking for short periods of time also helps to maintain the flow of blood to the heart, the important thing is not to last long without standing movements to help the flow and circulation of blood.

Using socks helps to reduce the inflammation generated by Drooping.

The consumption of alcohol should be reduced to prevent liver cirrhosis.