Medicine Information

7 Tips to Keep Your Fluid Down on Dialysis

As any dialysis patient will tell you, keeping your fluid gain between dialysis sessions in check is not only important to your long term health, it is a major factor in your immediate well-being.

Keeping fluid level gains as low as possible between dialysis treatments will minimize the risk of congestive heart failure, pulmonary oedema, and hypertension. Cramps, headaches and breathing difficulties are short term side-effects of fluid overload, and whilst not as dangerous as the long term effects, these should be heeded as a pointer to fluid overload in dialysis patients.

Whilst every dialysis patient has their own special method of keeping their fluid levels in check, I thought it might be pertinent to explain some of the methods that I have found (relatively) successful.

1. Buy a bag of ice. I have a large chest freezer in my kitchen, I buy a 5kg (approx 11lb) bag of ice chips from the service (gas) station, place it in the freezer, and suck on ice chips throughout the day. Make sure the freezer is in a convenient place, so you can reach it quickly to grab a few small pieces of ice, so you can avoid the temptation to fill a glass with ice. (In which case you might as well have that mug of coffee you wanted in the first place!)

2. Get a GOOD set of digital scales. I have a set which measures with an accuracy of 200grams (don't we all wish we could afford the scales at the dialysis unit which measure to 50grams?!?), which is accurate enough to get a good idea of where you are at with your fluid gain. Work out the difference between your dialysis centre scales, and your home scales, so you can get an accurate reflection of your fluid gain. I weigh myself first thing when I get up in the morning (you'd be surprised how much weight you lose over a warm night!), as soon as I get home from work, and whenever I have a drink.

This method is great in two ways: 1)You never (well, rarely, anyway!) get a nasty surprise when you arrive at dialysis and jump on the scales. And 2) You don't get the opposite surprise of getting to dialysis with only 1kg of fluid on, thinking: "Damn, I wish I'd drank more!" (I often find myself in the ridiculous situation of forcing myself to have another cup of coffee before I leave for dialysis, as there's no bank for fluid, once you've had that dialysis, the opportunity to have that drink is gone forever!)

3. Save up your drinks if you're going to need them. If you know you are going to an event where the temptation to drink more fluid that you should will be strong, save up your drinks beforehand. For example - if you get off dialysis at lunchtime on Wednesday (meaning that you go back to dialysis on Friday Morning), and you have a function to attend on Thursday night, try to drink as little as possible between Wednesday lunchtime and Thursday evening, telling yourself that your reward will be the fact that you will be able to drink (nearly) as much as a "normal" person at the function.

4. Keep yourself busy! Any dialysis patient will tell you that when they're busy, they're not thinking about drinking. It could be a gentle walk, send an email to a friend, jump on the phone, or play with your kids. It doesn't matter, as long as it keeps your mind occupied.

5. Frozen water. Freeze a bottle of water, containing the amount you have allowed yourself to drink that day, and drink it as it defrosts. This has the benefit of the drink being ice-cold, as well. The down-side of this is that if your bottle melts too quickly, you could find yourself at 3pm, with all your water gone!

6. Spray bottle. Get yourself a spray bottle, and fill it with water (maybe with a little lemon juice or mint flavouring), and spray it into your mouth when you feel the urge to have a drink. Whilst this won't completely sate your desire for fluids, it may help you wait a little longer before indulging!

7. Mints and toothpaste. Try sucking a strong mint, or even brushing your teeth. The feeling of a clean, fresh mouth will often lessen the desire to blow your fluid limit. (This method will make you nicer to kiss, too!)

I hope that these suggestion will help you in the dialysis patient's eternal quest to keep their fluid gain under control. But remember, life is for living too, and we, as dialysis patients more than most need to adhere to this edict. So whilst keeping your fluid gain under control is important for both your immediate and long term health, remember that if you've blown your fluid this time, there is always next time, so keep trying!

About the author: Stuart Drew is a 34 year old dialysis patient from Adelaide, Australia. He has a wilfe, a son (with another on the way), and two miniature schnauzers. He is a part time web geek, and runs the website - a news service for all issues relating to kidney disease and dialysis. He can be contacted at

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at

Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic (blog)

Opioids May Not Be the Best Medicine for Chronic Back, Joint Pain
Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic (blog)
A new study shows that opioid pain medications are no more effective than non-opioids when it comes to treating chronic pain. Advertising Policy. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our ...

and more »

We Are Weill Cornell Medicine: Dr. Babacar Cisse
Cornell Chronicle
Babacar Cisse immigrated to the United States from Senegal with just $26 in his pocket and a lesson from his parents to always give back. Now a neurosurgeon, Cisse heeds those words in every interaction with his patients. “Being a neurosurgeon and a ...

KMTV - 3 News Now

Quadruplets born at Nebraska Medicine
KMTV - 3 News Now
(KMTV) - For the first time since 2008, a set of quadruplets were born at Nebraska Medicine. On Feb. 23, Shalee and Andy McCarter of Overton welcomed the four babies, who are now at home with their parents and 10-year-old sister Elle after spending ...

and more »

Israel's Rambam Hospital, Stanford University Medicine Co-Host Symposium on Medical Tech
A joint symposium by Israel's Rambam Health Care Campus and Stanford University Medicine was held earlier this week on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, California, with the aim of exploring best practices and the latest developments in clinical ...

and more »

Clinical Medicine Training Preps Med Students to Treat Transgender Patients
MD Magazine
A new study from Boston University School of Medicine suggests that medical students who are specifically trained in clinical transgender medicine are better prepared to treat transgender patients. Study authors demonstrated that specific transgender ...

Michigan Medicine's Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes showcases new research at Endocrine ...
University of Michigan Health System News (press release)
Members of the Michigan Medicine Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes are showcasing new research at the Endocrine Society's ENDO 2018 March 17-20 in Chicago. The annual meeting, taking place this year at McCormick Place West, is the ...

Valley morning Star

Reflecting on 30 years in medicine
Valley morning Star
While Susan's peers are beginning to retire, she cannot imagine a life outside of medicine. When asked what she would do if she wasn't a doctor, she sat back and contemplated a life without a white coat. It was hard. She likes history, so maybe a ...

Glasgow High School to offer advanced medicine career pathway
Bowling Green Daily News
Principal Amy Allen said GHS next year will begin offering the Advanced Medicine career pathway to students who want to become doctors, surgeons, pharmacists and other similarly advanced medical professions. “I'm really excited for our students because ...

and more »

Lab News

The future character of medicine - Laboratory News
Lab News
Nanotechnology offers great promise for the improvement of the treatment of a number of diseases. However, access to the expertise and methodologies required to characterise new nanomaterials is limited. The European Nanotechnology Characterisation ...

and more »

Greenville Journal

Furman University to offer new graduate degree program in community medicine
Greenville Journal
“It is important that the Master of Science in community engaged medicine be in alignment with Furman's mission and extend liberal arts and sciences values to students who are ultimately planning careers in health care,” said Victoria Turgeon ...

Google News

home | site map | Dr. Thad Thomas
© 2006