Most dialysis patients need to limit their fluid intake to be as healthy as possible. Too much fluid can raise blood pressure, damage the heart, cause swelling, and make dialysis very uncomfortable. It is very important to get a handle on thirst control as early as possible. So, what can you do when that thirst bug hits?
Here are some tips we’ve gathered from dialysis patients:
Freezes your allotted amount of water in a jar or pitcher overnight. The next day, sip the water as the ice melts. Once the water is gone, you know you have used up your daily fluid limit.
Use small glasses, such as juice glasses, at meals. If you use larger glasses, don’t fill them up completely.
Limit the amount of salt in your diet. Salt makes your body hold on to water. Limiting salt helps control your thirst.
Keep a supply of hard candy, like mints, lemon drops, or sour balls. They lubricate your mouth and help decrease thirst.
Take sips, not gulps. Try to savor whatever liquid you’re drinking and make it an experience, not just a thirst quencher.
Divide your fluid allowance into manageable parts. For example, if you can have 32 ounces per day, you could drink 8 ounces at 4 different times of the day, at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
If you plan to attend a social event in the evening, you can decrease your intake earlier in the day so you can enjoy a beverage at the event.
Use a refreshing mouthwash daily, and be sure to brush your tongue, since good oral hygiene habits also help get rid of that “dry mouth” feeling.
Check with the dietitian at your unit for additional tips and ideas.