Your kidneys are tasked with maintaining fluid balance in the body. They signal the uptake of sodium for the body to retain water and the release of fluids when your body has too much water. If your kidneys do not function properly, they may not be able to release fluids. Your physician may recommend fluid restrictions, depending upon how impaired your kidney function is.
Your physician will consider several factors when determining how much water you should have each day. If you are on dialysis, this includes how much fluid is removed during dialysis. Also, your physician will measure your weight between dialysis treatments. You should expect to gain between 1 and 2 lbs. of water weight between treatments. If you are gaining more, you may need to restrict your fluid intake further than you already are. Your physician also will measure daily urine output to determine how much your kidneys are filtering.
In addition to closely watching your fluid intake, your physician will recommend limiting sodium in your daily diet. This is because increased sodium intake can make you thirstier, tempting you to increase your fluid intake. Extra sodium in your body also can cause your kidney to retain water, making you feel bloated. If your urine output seems lesser on a particular day, this may indicate you have eaten too much salt.
Fluid restriction examples can vary based on your individual condition. Your physician may give your fluid restrictions in milliliters or ounces. For example, if your kidney function is very limited, your physician will recommend 1,200 mL per day, which is the equivalent to 40 oz. or 5 cups. If your kidneys are functioning better, you may be permitted to drink 2,000 mL, which equals 67 oz. or 8 1/3 cups. Keep in mind that foods contain fluids as well -- fruits, vegetables and soups also contribute to your daily fluid intake.
To keep close track of how much water you can take in throughout the day, pour the water into a container that matches the size of your fluid allowance. Looking at the fluid all at once can help you best divide your intake throughout the day. If you have difficulty sticking to fluid restrictions, you can suck on hard candy, chewing gum or ice chips -- just count them along with your fluid intake.