What is fluid restriction?

Fluid Restriction
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Fluid restriction: Overview

A buildup of fluid in the body can cause low sodium levels in the blood. It may also cause symptoms such as swelling and pain. Your doctor may suggest that you limit liquids, including foods that contain a lot of liquid. Limiting liquids is called fluid restriction.

Limiting the amount of fluids you take in can help balance sodium levels in your body. Your doctor will tell you how much fluid you can have in a day.

How can you care for yourself when you restrict fluids?

  • Find a way of tracking the fluids you take in that works for you. Here are two methods you can try:
    • Write down how much you drink throughout the day.
    • Keep a container filled with the amount of liquid allowed for the day. As you drink liquids during the day, such as a 6-ounce cup of coffee, pour that same amount out of the container. When the container is empty, you've had your liquid for the day.
  • Count any foods that will melt (such as ice cream, gelatin, or flavored ice treats) or liquid foods (such as soup) as part of your fluids for the day. Also count the liquid in canned fruits and vegetables as part of your daily intake, or drain them well before serving.
  • Space your liquids throughout the day. Then you won't be tempted to drink more than the amount your doctor recommends.
  • To relieve thirst without taking in extra water, try chewing gum, sucking on hard candy (sugarless if you have diabetes), or rinsing your mouth with water and spitting it out.

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