Discharge Instructions: Limiting Fluids

Your doctor has prescribed fluid restriction for you. This means you need to limit the amount of fluids that you drink. If your kidneys are healthy, they balance the amount of fluid that enters and leaves your body. If your body cannot maintain this fluid balance because of illness or injury, you may need to limit the amount you drink.

This sheet can help you take in the right amount of fluid each day.

Measuring fluids

  • Drink the amount of fluid recommended by your doctor. Don’t drink more or less.

  • Write down the liquid limits your doctor recommended. Amounts are usually given in a certain number of ml or cc (these two units are equivalent). Here are some measurements to help you:

    • 1 cup = 8 oz = 240 cc = 240 ml

    • 4 cups = 32 oz = 1,000 ml (or cc) = 1 liter

    • 6½ cups = 50 oz = 1,500 ml (or cc) = 1.5 liters

    • 8-1/3 cups = 67 oz = 2,000 ml (or  cc) = 2 liters

    • 1 can of soda = 1½ cups = 12 oz = 360 ml (or cc) 

    • 2 cups = 500 ml (or cc) 

  • Measure the amount of water you will drink during the day and put it in a container. Drink water from that container only.

Limiting fluids

  • Drink only when you are thirsty.

  • Try the following tips to help you feel less thirsty:

    • Rinse your mouth with water; don’t swallow.

    • Rinse your mouth with cool mouthwash.

    • Chew sugar-free gum or hard candy.

    • Suck on a few ice chips.

    • Try sucking on a lemon wedge to moisten your mouth.

    • Freeze grapes, berries, or small bits of fruit and let them thaw slowly in your mouth.

  • Drink from a cup or a small glass.

  • Divide your fluids up during the day; divide them between meals and snacks.

  • Take your medicine with your liquids at meal time.

  • Eat only a limited amount of the following “liquid foods": soups, frozen juice bars, gravy, ices, sauces, milk shakes, pudding, sherbet, custard, ice cream, ice cubes, or any other food that becomes liquid when it stays at room temperature.

  • Avoid salty foods. Remember, some foods may not taste salty but may still contain a high amount of salt (also called sodium). Read food labels to find the amount of sodium. A food is low sodium if it contains 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.

  • If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar level to help control your thirst.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness

  • Fainting

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Weight gain of more than 2 pounds in 24 hours or more than 5 pounds in 1 week

  • Swelling in the hands, feet, or ankles

  • Confusion