Fluid Intake in Chronic Kidney Disease (Predialysis and Dialysis)

When your kidney function slows down, your kidneys will produce less urine. The less urine your kidneys make, the less fluid you can drink. The daily amount of fluid you are allowed to drink depends on the amount of urine you produce.

Fluid intake in predialysis

In early stages of your disease (stage 1-4), you do not need to limit your fluid intake as long as your urine output is normal.

As your kidneys become worse (stage 5) and you recognise a swelling of your ankles and feet or weight gain, you have to restrict your fluid intake.

Particularly in dialysis stage it is important to watch your fluid intake.

Fluid intake in haemodialysis

If you are a haemodialysis patient, it is important to limit your fluid intake between the dialysis sessions. You might urinate only little or not at all and the excretion is limited to the secretion of sweat, breathing and faeces. Fluids can build up between dialysis sessions, causing swelling of your ankles and feet (oedema), weight gain, fluid build-up around your lungs that lead to shortness of breath and high blood pressure.

You have to carefully watch how much you drink. Please note, any food that is liquid at room temperature also contains water (incl. soup and ice cream, milk pudding). Many fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, too (e.g. melons, grapes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, lettuce). All these foods add to your daily fluid intake.

The best method to check your fluid intake is to weigh yourself regularly. The weight gain between your haemodialysis sessions should only be 1 to 2 kg.

Fluid intake in peritoneal dialysis

If you receive peritoneal dialysis treatment, it is usually not necessary to restrict your fluid intake as much as in haemodialysis. By adjusting different glucose concentrations of the dialysis fluid, daily water excretion can be regulated. Please check your urine output and your body weight regularly.

Please check with your doctor your recommended fluid intake. Sometimes it may be necessary to reduce the intake of fluids and salt to correct fluid overload and high blood pressure.

Tips to ease your thirst and control your fluid intake

  • Suck hard lemon candies. 
  • Suck small ice cubes. 
  • Chew gums without sugar. 
  • Avoid salty food/snacks. 
  • Rinse your mouth with water without swallowing it. 
  • Suck small amounts of icy fruits. 
  • Suck lemon wedges. 
  • Do not use table salt (salt makes you thirsty). 
  • Use small cups or glasses.

Recommended Intake

Content last updated
  1. Fouque D, Vennegoor M, ter Wee P et al.: EBPG Guideline on Nutrition. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2007; 22 (Suppl 2): ii45–ii87 http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/22/suppl_2/ii45 (last visited 20.04.2010)