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Water pills, more often referred to as diuretics, help your body get rid of excess water and sodium. Water pills make your kidneys deposit more sodium into your urine. That extra sodium takes with it water from your blood. This process, according to the Mayo Clinic, thins your blood and relieves pressure in your arteries.

Types of Water Pills

Loop diuretics are water pills that block the absorption of sodium, which will then deposit the sodium into the kidneys for urination. Thiazides affect your body much like loop diuretics. Potassium-sparing water pills keep potassium in the system while expelling the sodium through urination.

Medical Benefits

According to the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, doctors should prescribe thiazide diuretics as the first option to lower high blood pressure and similar conditions caused by high blood pressure. Doctors may also prescribe diuretics to treat heart failure, edema, polycystic ovarian syndrome, kidney stones, diabetes insipidus, female hirsutism or osteoporosis.


Water pills may also be used as a dieting supplement, though that is not advised by the staff at the Mayo Clinic. Since diuretics reduce the amount of water in your system, they will reduce your weight, though not by significant amounts. Dieting techniques should not hinged on the use of dieting pills, as overusing the pills may result in severe side effects.

Natural Alternatives & Possible Side Effects

There are some natural products that work in a similar manner to water pills. Coffee beans, goldenrod, parsley and juniper are some of the natural alternatives that may thin your blood or increase urination. Like all pills and medicinal treatments, there may be side effects. Some of the side effects of diuretic usage, according to the Mayo Clinic, may include: electrolyte imbalance, low blood pressure, hyponatremia, increased blood sugar, increased cholesterol, menstrual irregularities, gynecomastia, hyperkalemia, hypokalemia, gout, impotence or rashes.

About the Author

Heath Wright

Heath Wright has been writing since 2000. He was first published in the eighth grade for his poetry. Since then, he has written journalism for his high school. He was also a contributing writer and editorial assistant for "The Quill," the newsletter of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. He has a Bachelor of Arts in theater and a minor in marketing.