Dialysis: 7 Smart Ways to Manage Thirst


It’s time to rethink your drink. It’s one of the major changes patients who require dialysis need to make to protect their health.

Why? While most people should drink plenty of water, it’s a different story for dialysis patients. When your kidneys are no longer working, too many fluids can cause serious health problems such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart-related complications
  • Swelling, especially in the arms, hands, legs, and feet
  • Pain

The good news? You can learn to manage your thirst and avoid complications associated with drinking too many fluids. Here are 7 smart ways to manage your thirst:

  1. Good oral hygiene. Use a minty mouthwash every day. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes. Brush your tongue. And don’t forget to floss.
  1. Plan ahead. If you’re going to attend a social event, think about what you might drink. You may want to limit what you drink during the day, so you can enjoy a drink with family and friends later.
  1. Track your fluid intake. Then divide it up to drink small amounts throughout the day. You’ll be less likely to get thirsty at dinner time, drink too much, then regret it.
  1. Savor every sip. Anytime you have a drink, resist the urge to chug it or gulp it down. Take small sips. Swish it around in your mouth. Maybe even hold it there for a few seconds, then swallow. Savoring every sip will help you avoid getting thirsty.
  1. Candy crush your thirst. Here’s another easy way to avoid drinking too much. Have a piece of hard candy. It keeps your mouth moist, and helps reduce thirst.
  1. Use smaller glasses. Try a child-sized glass or cup, or even a shot glass. Using a smaller glass is a smart way to curb fluid intake and help you avoid drinking too much. If you use a larger glass, don’t fill it.
  1. Avoid or limit sodium and salt. You should be doing this anyway as part of a Dialysis-Friendly diet. Why? Too much sodium causes the body to retain water, and without functioning kidneys, it’s harder for your body to remove excess fluid. 

There’s the obvious high-sodium offenders to avoid like French fries, fast food, processed meats, and high-sodium snacks. But what foods can you eat to keep sodium levels lower and avoid getting too thirsty?

Check out the complete menu of Dialysis-Friendly foods made with fresh ingredients, and specifically created by our team of professional chefs and a dietitian to help you limit the amount of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus in your diet.