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Swollen ankles, water pills experience?

Started 1382243860.09 in Viewpoints | Last reply 1382421110.457 by Lindsays Grandma

I went for my routine health check up the other day. The Dr found my ankles to be swollen (and my blood pressure elevated and Im on BP meds). The left is swelled more than the right. Now my calf/shin part is swollen too JUST on the left. Its not huge but you can see swelling, and it doesn't hurt but its warm to the touch.

I got water pills to take. Now heres what happened. I go to the drug store for them and they told me I had to speak to the Pharmacist. Well Im allergic to a med (Sulfa), which has a warning on for this medicine, so it came up on the screen so she had to tell me, but she said that it would be rare Id get a reaction.

I just could not get myself to take these pills!!!! Because Ive been allergic to Sulfa since Im a kid. Its on my records (from previous doctors long gone now) but I never knew what happens when I take sulfa. SO I call my brother (our parents are deceased) and asked him if he knew because hes allergic to sulfa too, and he said he knows he got a rash. He doesn't know what happened when I took it. And I never had to worry about it till NOW, because its on my chart not to take.

I was like paranoid over this. SO I paged the family Dr. to see if they could order me another water pill! He called me back and explained (for 20 minutes no less which is rare a Dr would talk this long on the phone), about this water pill. He said its a low chance I would get a reaction and explained the Science of the water pill vs taking the antibiotic of PURE Sulfa is not the same as the sulfa for this (I get the just of it but not in its entirety, but he does...lol).

Before he hung up he said have some Benadryl on hand in case you get a light reaction, but if I get a reaction where I cant breathe or something call 911! But he doesn't think that will happen. (Geesh why did he say that?..lol).

Well I AM going to try to take it tomorrow because it was late and they say the water pill makes you run to the bathroom a lot and I didn't want to be up all night running. In the meantime I have my legs propped up (above my heart).

I was wondering if anyone else had swelling or took water pills? And by the way I take a lot of Ibuprofen for my back (prescription type) and I stopped it yesterday because I know too much IB can cause problems. I just PRAY theres nothing else wrong that I have this swelling. I think its from inactivity due to my back problems, but anyway I had a check up as I said and the Dr didn't seem to be overly worried about my swelling like I am.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make"

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EmmaBunting1382244922.8736012 PostsRegistered 1/19/2013

awwww, shorty.....sorry you're so distressed. I think your doctor wouldn't tell you to take the water pills if whatever minimal risk of an allergic reaction wasn't outweighed by the benefit.

If I were you, I'd take them tomorrow when you are around people in case you're worried. And have that Benadryl handy...........but I would just try to relax and not worry. Doctors are so cautious these days that I'm sure yours wouldn't have given you the go ahead unless the risk was very, very low.

Good luck. Let us know how you make out.

hckynut1382245066.24721263 PostsRegistered 5/20/2006Nebraska

Hi Shorty2U,

Sorry to hear about this issue with you. Sounds to me like your doctor did not end this conversation well. To say "if you can't breathe to call 911"? I can't imagine any good doctor ending a conversation like this when this when it comes to whether to take a certain medication or not.

The only time I've had fluid retention issues was during my many hospital stays when I was on IV fluids 24/7 and my lower extremities would swell up on me. My feet would get so big I couldn't even put on my shoes or slippers and had to wear TED hose(anti-embolism).

During these times I at times was given Lasix to remove some of the fluids. At times they would shoot some in my IV and at other times they would give me a pill to take. Either way for the next 4-5 hours I could not go more than 5-7 minutes without a toilet visit.

I am taking BP meds(Lopressor generic called Metoprolol) but only because of 2 heart attacks my Cardiologist wants me to keep my BP as low as I can and still be able to function. He believes the less pressure on the arteries the better, so my BP running around 90/60 is about the best for me.

Don't know about your back issues, but I've had 3 ruptured spinal discs and open back surgery, but none of them kept me from still doing some type of vigorous exercising. Some I had to do sitting down, but I always found a way to do something to keep by legs moving in some way. It is always a good idea to move the legs as much as possible even if you have to do it while lying down. It keeps the circulation going through the body, and lack of circulation many times is why fluid accumulates in the furthest points from one's heart.

One thing for sure you "have to trust your doctor" and his advice. If you do not? It's time to find a different doctor.

Wishing you well with this and I am hoping it is nothing serious, which I do not think it is from what you have said here.


Shorty2U138224574316333 PostsRegistered 6/24/2007City girl @ heart

From the OP

Thank You Emma, I will try not to worry. I hate pills (I take so many for my back) but youre right I should trust him.

Thank You John. (Im glad to see you back to posting, I remember that you were ill for some time). I hope that you are doing better. Mine aren't that swelled (I can wear shoes) and I have those support hose from surgery before and put them on earlier. I remember about your back. I had C spine surgery, but never lumbar but my whole spine is messed up on every level theres is something but the lumbar is what hurts. I go to a pain Dr for the lumbar for years and have gone through shots of all types (which used to work), therapy etc but still live with chronic pain.

I will let yous know how I make out. My husband is home tomorrow for a change and doesn't have to work, so I wont be alone.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make"

EmmaBunting1382246180.7436012 PostsRegistered 1/19/2013

That's great, shorty. Having your husband there should ease your mind. I bet the only side effect you'll have is going to the bathroom all day long! Those pills work really quickly, so you should have relief from the swelling in no time.

gazelle771382248007.5210026 PostsRegistered 3/1/2013
Have you tried compression stockings? I wear them they look just like regular stockings , come in all colors and styles. They feel so good on and help my swollen ankle from venous insufficiency .

~~Always remember--
You're braver than you believe
And stronger than you seem
And smarter than you think~

Kachina6241382249658.04719347 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004New Mexico
I have gone through bouts of leg swelling which appeared to have been caused by blood pressure meds. I'm also allergic to sulfa drugs but this was never mentioned in conjunction with the diuretics that I took (Lasix), and I never had any sort of reaction. The only time my feet and ankles swell now is when I fly. As soon as I walk through the door of a plane, I puff up. I've alleviated that with compression knee-high hose.

Oops! Did I roll my eyes out loud?

Big Sister1382255727.286226 PostsRegistered 5/15/2010Southern California

I take a "water pill" every day and never had any bad effects from it. If I were you I would not worry about something that might (rarely) happen.

The suggestion about compression stockings is a good one and I have been meaning to buy some.

adelle381382271372.55310764 PostsRegistered 12/22/2007

Some blood pressure medications can cause severely swollen ankles. Did your doctor discuss this with you? It's possible you need to change your blood pressure medications. I'm allergic to Sulfa and would never take a medication containing it.

"Fear always springs from ignorance."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

aprildreams1382280983.721442 PostsRegistered 5/2/2007

Did your dr explain WHY you have the swelling or is he just treating symptoms? I would want to know why I had dependent edema. Sometimes it is caused by CHF (congestive heart failure). The heart is not pumping hard enough to pump the blood/fluids back up through the body. Doesn't mean this is your problem, but I would want to know WHY I have edema. I'm an RN, so that's just how I think. Dr's hate having us as patients.....lol. We won't just take a pill.

Last edited on 10/20/2013

happy hous­ewife1382281998.00734389 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007
there are lots of different water pills that work in various ways - would the doctor tell you why he insists you take this one?

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

lovesrecess1382282709.47314673 PostsRegistered 7/14/2008Texas


Last edited on 10/20/2013

lovesrecess1382282773.7314673 PostsRegistered 7/14/2008Texas

I would want to know the cause of the swelling; could be CHF as mentioned or even a blood clot since the swelling is more pronounced on one leg.....but I would definitely take the water pill as prescribed to see if it will help.

Ford12241382283006.58314466 PostsRegistered 3/25/2012

I cannot take diuretics. I took one once when pregnant (I always carried a lot of water weight when I was pregnant). I literally had to crawl on the floor to the kitchen where the phone was to call the doctor. He told me not to ever take another diuretic again and I never have.

I recently dehydrated again a week after back surgery and had to go to the ER for a saline IV.

So be careful . . . these are dangerous drugs.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

brii1382283375.129722 PostsRegistered 7/14/2008
Isn't the doctor interested why you are swelling?

KatherineW1382284826.36728130 PostsRegistered 3/16/2009Alabamian by Birth; Southern By The Grace of God

Also drink plenty of water!!! I occasionally take on of DH's Lasix if my feet swell. Takes 2-3 days but it works. I am not sure how potent those over the counter water pills are anyway.

KatherineW1382285023.2828130 PostsRegistered 3/16/2009Alabamian by Birth; Southern By The Grace of God
On 10/19/2013 gazelle77 said: Have you tried compression stockings? I wear them they look just like regular stockings , come in all colors and styles. They feel so good on and help my swollen ankle from venous insufficiency .

Aren't they hot?? My BP meds cause me to occasionally swell as one lowers my heart rate.

ROMARY 11382285858.9520073 PostsRegistered 4/28/2010

It's a good idea, in general, to call 24-hour pharmacies and talk to their pharmacists very early in the morning when they aren't busy filling prescriptions. They have always been very helpful, not at all in a hurry, etc. Call pharmacies not related to your own pharmacy. That way you can obtain various opinions, information, experience regarding your concerns. They might also mention other alternative meds that are available. Pharmacists really are so very up to date on medications.......what works and what doesn't, side effects, etc. I have always had the highest respect for pharmacists, and IMO, they are more 'open and informative', because that is their major field. ..... p.s. You can try calling today, even if they are busy, for good advice, too. It's just that in the early morning, they will talk for 20 minutes because they probably enjoy the conversation regarding their field/advice.

Yellow Rose

sophiamarie1382285954.6672923 PostsRegistered 8/8/2013

OP - Are you seeing a Cardiologist? If not, that's the specialist you need to see. He knows more about BP meds and diuretics than your family doctor.

I take Lozol and I don't think it has sulpha. Ask your doctor if you can take a different drug - in fact, ask your Pharmacist what alternative you can take. Smile

**gag me with a spoon**

gazelle771382286197.88310026 PostsRegistered 3/1/2013
On 10/20/2013 KatherineW said:
On 10/19/2013 gazelle77 said: Have you tried compression stockings? I wear them they look just like regular stockings , come in all colors and styles. They feel so good on and help my swollen ankle from venous insufficiency .

Aren't they hot?? My BP meds cause me to occasionally swell as one lowers my heart rate.

NO! I just started to wear the knee highs--- they have so many types, styles, etc to choose from now. I ordered some off of the Walgreens website and also from Rejuvahealth.com website. Prices are cheaper on the walgreens site... I had improvement from the first day I started to wear them! I take them off at night. You just need to measure your ankle and calf to get the right size.

~~Always remember--
You're braver than you believe
And stronger than you seem
And smarter than you think~

PinkyPetun­ia1382286427.264688 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004NJ

I have high blood pressure and am allergic to sulfa drugs. Many years ago I had a kidney infection and took an antibiotic that make be break out all over in a rash. I was told to avoid sulfa drugs.

Now I take meds for high blood pressure, one of which is a diuretic (water pill). The information printout that I get with the meds also cautioned that those sensitive to sulfa drugs may have a reaction, but I took it anyway and had no difficulty at all. Your doctor explained most patiently that the strength of sulfa medication contained in the diuretic is much less than that found in the antibiotic, so I would take it if I were you.

I'd be more concerned about why edema is present. I'd find out if your hypertension med is contributing to this. good luck.

edited to add: You may not be running to the bathroom after taking the diuretic. It depends on how high the dosage is.

Last edited on 10/20/2013

glb6131382288240.4311659 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

There are several reasons for swelling in your feet and ankles. Heart disease and kidney disease are the most serious. One of the most common reasons I saw during my working days was muscle weakness and sitting with your legs in a dependent position for long periods of time. Fluid returns to the heart through muscle contraction and muscle tone. When people decrease their activity, get weak and sit for long periods of time, the fluid pools in your lower legs.

I would want to know why I had swelling as well as treating it. If it is caused by inactivity and decreased muscle tone, you can do something about it even if you have medical problems. There are all types of sitting leg exercises that will help increase strength and tone. Most are safe for those with medical problems like a bad back. As always, check with your MD before starting any program.

Shorty2U1382376497.3416333 PostsRegistered 6/24/2007City girl @ heart

Update from the OP. Thanks for all of the feedback, I appreciate it- I took the med, and was OK. My right ankle is better, still have swelling in the left ankle and somewhat in the calf/shin area. Also I did not run to the bathroom as is the norm with these meds.

This med is for blood pressure and swelling (and I also have another blood pressure pill). She gave me a full check up and thought the swelling was from lack of exercise due to my chronic back and hip pain. The only exercise I get is when I go to a store and walk but I can not walk more than 15-20 minutes due to pain. I have a treadmill and was trying to walk on it but it knocks out my back and hip.

Lastly I did see a cardiologist last year for my blood pressure and had a stress test and heart ultra sound test. Of course I wasn't having swelling then.

To add, I think this swelling could have come from my Ibuprofen because on these water meds is a warning about taking them with IB and it says IB cause edema (swelling). I have stopped the iB 3 days ago on my own after reading this. I still have pain meds in an other form for my back. but the IB helps with inflammation. But for now I stopped it to see if this helps too.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make"

glb6131382377072.3311659 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

There are other exercises besides walking. If you are really serious about increasing the tone and strength in your legs, as for a therapy referral and have them teach you a program that won't hurt your back. I use to teach people like you and it works.

redheadwit­ch1382377234.95732 PostsRegistered 8/4/2012

Shorty2U I was also put on a water pill for the swelling in my ankles and at first I thought these darn things are not working I don't go to the bathroom any more than before but a week later I was running to the bathroom every other thing. Give them a chance to get into your system.

ROMARY 11382385743.220073 PostsRegistered 4/28/2010

Sometimes we have to be our own researchers/detectives. Glad you figured out the IB side effects. Make sure you mention this to your doc, regarding the IB perhaps causing the swelling. She/he can write it/type it into your file. Remember, if you have any questions, call various 24-hour pharmacists/drug stores in your area, early in the morning or very late at night when they don't have many patients/customers. They are always very helpful regarding side effects and med. combinations/interactions.

Yellow Rose

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