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Discharge Instructions: Limiting Fluids

Your healthcare provider has prescribed fluid restriction for you. This means you need to limit the amount of fluids that you drink. If your kidneys are healthy, they balance the amount of fluid that enters and leaves your body. If your body can't maintain this fluid balance because of illness or injury, you may need to limit the amount you drink.

Measuring fluids

Drink the amount of fluid recommended by your healthcare provider. Don’t drink more or less.

Write down the liquid limits your healthcare provider recommended. Amounts are usually given in a certain number of ml or cc (1 cc equals 1 ml). Here are some measurements to help you:

  • 1 ounce = about 30 ml = about 30 cc

  • 1 cup = 8 oz = about 240 cc = about 240 ml

  • 4 cups = 32 oz = about 1,000 ml (or cc) = almost 1 liter

Limiting fluids

  • Drink only when you are thirsty.

  • Try the following tips to help you feel less thirsty:

    • Rinse your mouth with water, but don’t swallow.

    • Rinse your mouth with cool mouthwash.

    • Chew sugar-free gum or hard candy.

    • Suck on a few ice chips.

    • Try sucking on a lemon wedge to moisten your mouth.

    • Freeze grapes, berries, or small bits of fruit and let them thaw slowly in your mouth.

  • Drink from a small cup or glass.

  • Divide your fluids up during the day. Divide them between meals and snacks.

  • Take your medicine with your liquids at mealtime.

  • Eat only a limited amount of the following “liquid foods": soups, frozen juice bars, gravy, ices, sauces, milk shakes, pudding, sherbet, custard, ice cream, ice cubes, or any other food that becomes liquid when it stays at room temperature.

  • Don't have salty foods. A high salt intake can make you thirsty. Remember, some foods may not taste salty but may still contain a high amount of salt (sodium). Read food labels to find the amount of sodium. A food is low sodium if it contains 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.

  • If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar level to help control your thirst.


Make a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider, or as advised, 

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your provider right away if any of the following occur:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness

  • Fainting

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Weight gain of more than 2 pounds in 24 hours, or more than 5 pounds in 1 week

  • Swelling in the hands, feet, or ankles

  • Confusion

Online Medical Reviewer: Brittany Poulson MDA RDN CD CDE
Online Medical Reviewer: Diane Horowitz MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2022
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