Kidney Diet Tips

10 Tips to Help Decrease Thirst

As someone who works with dialysis patients in Texas, the hot summer heat poses a huge challenge for many people needing to control their fluid intake. It’s difficult not to want to gulp down some fresh iced tea or lemonade on days like this. Thirst can be hard to control. However, excessive fluid intake for some patients with kidney disease will lead to strain on the body’s organs including the heart. This type of stress on the body makes it difficult to breath and could cause the heart to stop beating.

If you have kidney disease and have been told to limit liquids, it is important to talk to your doctor or dietitian about your daily fluid allowance. Your fluid intake includes foods like gelatin or frozen treats that liquefy at room temperature. Water, soda, juices, soups, ice cream, snow-cones and milk are a few more examples of what counts as fluid.

Tips for Thirst and Fluid Control

Here are 10 helpful tips to consider to help quench your thirst during hot summer days:

  1. Beware of overindulging on foods known to increase thirst – coffee/caffeinated products, alcohol, salty foods and sugary foods.
  2. Avoid the hot summer heat and stay inside as much as possible. If you enjoy some fresh air, try only going outside in the mornings or evenings.
  3. Good oral hygiene habits help with “dry mouth”. This includes brushing your teeth/tongue, using mouthwash, and flossing daily.
  4. Be aware of those fresh summer fruits (like watermelon and grapes) that can contain a large amount of fluid. You can enjoy them but monitoring how much you eat is important. Also, taking into account your total fluid allowance is important.
  5. Keep sugar-free gums and candy on you to help with thirst. Some of my patients enjoy the ZolliPops® suckers which may help with oral hygiene and are known as “The Clean Teeth Pops”.
  6. Use small 8 ounce glasses or water bottles to help keep track of fluid intake. This may prevent over indulgence that may happen with larger containers. Sip instead of gulp.
  7. Fill a small mist bottle with lemon-flavored water (or other beverage) and “spritz” your mouth throughout the day.
  8. Freeze grapes or berries to have as a mini Popsicle during the day. This may satisfy both your thirst and “sweet tooth”.
  9. Discuss with your doctor other medical concerns that may be increasing thirst. A common concern is uncontrolled diabetes. If your blood sugars are too high, you will likely experience excessive thirst. It is always recommended for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugars at home to ensure your levels are staying within their goal range. If the idea of checking your blood sugars or managing your diabetes makes you nervous, ask your doctor to refer you to a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). CDE’s are trained to give hands-on education to help you feel confident in managing your diabetes.
  10. If you have tried all the tips and are still struggling with excessive thirst, talk to your doctor about your medications. Certain ones are known to increase thirst- including medications for hypertension, mood, anxiety, COPD, asthma, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. If deemed necessary, your doctor may change the dose or the medication.

Select a few of these thirst control tips and see which ones work best for you. In addition, try tracking your fluid intake. The DaVita Diet Helper online meal planner and tracker has a Fluid Tracker feature to help you keep up with your fluid intake.

Thirst-Quenching Recipes

Try one of these flavored water recipes for a refreshing beverage without added sugar or additives:

Travel and Fluid Control

Summertime also means vacation days and travel. Take a look at these fluid and food travel tips to use this summer.

References:

Retrieved on 5/9/2019 – https://zollipops.com/how-zollipops-works/

Retrieved on 5/9/2019 – https://www.esrdnetwork.org/patients-families/patient-education

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

 DaVita Diet Helper online meal planner and tracker

 DaVita Kidney-Friendly recipes

 Today’s Kidney Diet cookbooks

 Diet and Nutrition articles

 Kidney Diet and Nutrition Hub

 Kidney Smart® Classes taught by kidney experts in your area

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Samantha Carter MS, RD, LD

Samantha Carter MS, RD, LD

Samantha Carter, MS, RD, LD has been a registered dietitian since 2012 and a DaVita dietitian since 2017. She has previous experience in acute-care hospitals and long-term nursing facilities. Samantha finds her previous work has given her a passion for kidney disease and an understanding in complications associated with the disease. Besides nutrition, Samantha also has a passion for the outdoors, traveling to adventurous places, and playing sports (especially tennis and volleyball).