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A guide to reducing your fluid intake

Date issued: November 2022

Review date: November 2024

Ref: C-241/Dietetics/CT/Restricting your fluid intake v5

PDF:  A guide to reducing your fluid intake final November 2022 v5.pdf [pdf] 142KB

The amount of fluid in the body is controlled by the kidneys.  When kidneys are not able to produce enough urine, excess fluid is stored in the body.

Signs of fluid overload include:

  • Raised blood pressure

  • Breathlessness

  • Swollen ankles and feet

  • Gaining more than 2kg weight between dialysis sessions

Some of the excess fluid can be removed by dialysis, however removal of large volumes of fluid (over 2kg) can cause nausea, dizziness, and cramps.  Longer term, it can strain and weaken your heart. 

Reducing how much fluid you drink will help prevent fluid overload, protect your heart and help you to feel well.

Note: you may be able to drink slightly more than normal if you are unwell with diarrhoea/vomiting, or if you are sweating more than usual (e.g., in very hot weather)

Monitoring your fluid gains

You will be weighed before and after each dialysis session. You may find it helpful to take note of these weights (see table below).

Target or “dry” weight: …………………kg

Weight table


Weight pre dialysis

Weight after dialysis

Total fluid gain










































You should aim to gain no more than 2kg weight in between each dialysis session.

These weight gains occur mainly from the amount of fluid you drink rather than the amount of food you eat1.  If you are gaining more than 2kg, it is likely you need to reduce how much fluid you drink.

1 Note:  Changes in actual body weight (i.e., muscle/fat) occur more slowly, usually over weeks or months 

Measuring your daily fluid intake

It is a good idea to use a measuring jug to check how much your usual cup or glass holds, or as a guide:

1 teacup                                 =                 150 - 200ml

1 mug                                     =                250 - 300ml

1 ice cube                              =                 25ml

1 glass                                   =                 250ml

1 can fizzy drink                     =                 330ml

1 small wine glass                 =                 125ml


1/2 pint                                   =                 280ml

1 pint                                     =                 568ml

1 tablespoon                          =                 15ml

1 teaspoon                             =                 5ml

You should also count fluid in food as part of your allowance:

Milk on cereal                        =                 150ml

1 scoop ice cream                 =                   50ml

1 portion custard                    =                 100ml

1 portion milk pudding            =                 150ml

1 jelly                                      =                 100ml

1 ice lolly                                =                   50ml

1 yoghurt                                =                 120ml

1 tin of soup                           =                 400ml

You may find it helpful to record your fluid intake for a couple of days

Monitoring your fluid intake

Fluid intake table





E.g., 7am


Cup of tea







































Helpful hints for fluid control

  • Spread your fluid allowance out through the day, have 5-6 small 150ml drinks rather than 3 larger 300ml drinks

  • Use small cups and glasses, or only half fill

  • Cut down on salt and salty foods, they will make you thirsty and make your body retain more fluid

  • Use re-usable ice cubes in drinks

  • If you have diabetes try to keep your blood sugars well-controlled, high blood sugar levels can make you feel thirsty

  • Suck sugar-free boiled sweets or use chewing gum to moisten your mouth

  • Try sucking ice cubes or making ice lollies, they last longer in the mouth than the same amount of water

  • If your mouth is dry try having a piece of fresh or frozen fruit, or sucking a slice of lemon to stimulate saliva

  • Use lip balm regularly for dry lips

  • Take medications with food where possible

Your renal dietitian has made the following personalised recommendations for you:


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