Managing your fluid intake - Information for kidney patients

Managing your fluid intake is an important part of your treatment 

Drinking less can:

  • Help you breathe more easily. 
  • Prevent your ankles swelling.
  • Help you keep your blood pressure stable.
  • Help prevent faintness or cramp on dialysis. 

It is also very difficult to control your fluid intake if you eat a lot of salt. Try not to add salt to cooking or at the table. Speak to your dietitian for more information on how to eat less salt. Your doctor nurse or dietitian can advise you how much fluid to have.

Write down the amount of fluid you have been advised to have. 

Useful measurements

  • Standard cup = 150ml.
  • Standard mug = 250ml.
  • Standard tumbler = 250ml.
  • Standard wine glass = 125ml.

Other helpful amounts

  • 600ml = 1 pint.
  • 1000ml = 1 3/4 pints.

Remember liquid foods could as part of your food allowance

Some typical servings

Custard/jelly/yoghurt1 typical pot100
Ice cream1 typical scoop50
Milk pudding1 serving200
Ice cube1 standard30
Soup1 serving (1/2 can)200
Milk on cereal1 serving 125

If you are feeling thirsty, try one of these first

  • Slice of lemon or orange.
  • Frozen grapes or pineapple cubes.
  • Boiled sweets or sugar free mints.
  • Chewing gum.

Try this to help space your drinks through the day

  1. Pour water into a jug in the morning that is the same as the amount of fluid you can have daily.
  2. Every time you have a drink such as squash, tea, coffee, milk, pour away the same amount of water from the jug.
  3. This will help you keep track of the amount you are drinking and how much fluid you have left in your allowance for that day.

Helpful tips

  • Use a small cup or glass for drinks. This should be about 150mls (5½fl.oz).
  • Keep a record of your fluid intake to help you see how much you are consuming.
  • Spread your fluids through the day and have smaller drinks.
  • Remember spicy foods can make you feel thirsty. Try to reduce these foods.
  • Use plastic ice cubes in drinks to save on fluid.
  • Brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash can help to freshen your mouth.
  • If you have a dry mouth, artificial saliva sprays such as Glandosane (available on prescription) can help.
  • Try swallowing tablets with food instead of fluid.
  • If you drink less on one day, save some of your fluid allowance for the next day.
  • You can drink sociably, but choose smaller drinks and try to drink less before or afterwards.

© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published July 2023. Review due July 2026. NBT003381.

Managing your fluid intake - Information for kidney patients