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Fluid Restriction


What is fluid restriction?

Fluid restriction means that you need to limit the amount of liquids you have each day. Fluid restriction is needed if your body is holding water. This is called fluid retention. Fluid retention can cause health problems, such as tissue and blood vessel damage, long-term swelling, and stress on the heart. You may need to limit the amount of liquids you have each day to less than 1,000 milliliters (mL). Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid you can have each day.

How much liquid is in common foods and drinks?

Liquid from both foods and drinks should be counted toward your daily liquid limit:

  • 12 ounces (1 can) of soda (332 mL)
  • 1 cup of juice (215 mL) or 2% milk (217 mL)
  • 6 ounces of coffee (175 mL) or 6 ounces of tea (168 mL)
  • 1 cup of gelatin (200 mL)
  • 1 single popsicle (45 mL)
  • 1 cup of ice cream (100 mL) or sherbet (127 mL)
  • 1 cup of yogurt (182 mL) or cottage cheese (185 mL)
  • 1 cup of raw peaches, canned in juice (218 mL)
  • 1 cup of grapes (120 mL) or berries (130 mL)
  • 1 cup of watermelon (140 mL)
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli (170 mL) or creamed corn (200 mL)

How should I track my liquid intake?

Keep a record of the amount of liquid you get each day. Record the exact amount of liquid in mL. To do this, measure the amount of ounces that your glass holds. Multiply the amount in ounces by 30 to get the amount in mL. For example, a glass may hold 16 ounces of liquid. To get the amount in mL, multiply 16 by 30. The total amount of liquid in this glass is 480 mL.

How should I monitor my weight?

Weigh yourself at the same time every day, with the same scale. Record your weight so you can compare it to your other daily weights. You may be retaining fluid if your weight goes up by more than 2 pounds in 24 hours. If you have a sudden weight loss, you may be dehydrated.

What else should I know about fluid balance?

  • Large amounts of sodium from foods can cause fluid retention. Sodium is found in table salt, salted snacks, bacon, cheddar cheese, soy sauce, lunch meat, and canned vegetables. Ask your healthcare provider how much sodium you can have each day.
  • Diuretics are medicines that can help your body get rid of extra fluid. If you take diuretics, follow your healthcare provider's directions. You may become dehydrated if you take too much of this medicine.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have a severe headache that cannot be relieved with medicine.
  • You have shortness of breath.
  • You have chest pain.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You gain 2 pounds in 1 day.
  • Your skin is tight and shiny.
  • You are urinating very little, even though you are regularly drinking liquids.
  • You have signs of dehydration, such as a headache, dark yellow urine, dry eyes or mouth, or a fast heartbeat.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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