2 Ways to Stop Fluid Retention Between Dialysis Treatments

Nicole’s no big fan of Monday nights and Tuesday mornings. Why? Because that’s when she endures a longer break between dialysis treatments. She goes into the clinic on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. So that’s three days without treatment come Tuesday morning. Toxin containing fluids build up over that time making her feel ill and bloated. She often has trouble breathing while laying down on Monday nights.

Studies show that among dialysis patients “sudden death is particularly frequent after the long weekend” (American Society of Nephrology). The problem is that because the kidneys have failed, dialysis patients don’t urinate enough. Fluid can’t get out.

Last Saturday, Nicole came back from dialysis with a bad start to the weekend. The clinic was only able to remove 3 kilos of excess water, when she needed 4 kilos removed. Actually, the clinic could take off more. But the drop in blood pressure (and other symptoms of taking two days worth of fluid off in four hours) are too much for Nicole’s body. I’d assume, if they wanted to, they could take off 40 kilos. But that, of course, would cause death by dehydration. Anyway, Nicole started the long weekend off with an extra kilogram of water.

“What am I going to do?” she said to me on Saturday.

“Not drink water,” was the first thought that came to mind. Not that Nicole drinks much water as it is. A scant cup of warm spring water in the morning before sweating it out in the sauna. Then she’ll normally have 1/3 cup of liquid with breakfast and dinner (mainly to get her supplements down). At lunch she’ll have 3/4 cup of broth. And, of course, she eats a lot of steamed vegetables, which contain water.

But all that is usually still more water coming in than going out. So last weekend, we cut out the cup of water in the morning. But that wasn’t going to be enough. So she tried two other ideas:

  1. Two 20-minute footbaths with 3 cups of Epsom salt. The salt pulls water out of the body through the feet. It’ll also pull out toxins and excess nutrients like potassium.
  2. Extra time in the sauna. Nicole finds she really starts sweating at the 20-minute mark. Normally she bails out of our near-infrared closet at 30-minutes. She does this two (sometimes three) times a day. Last weekend she put in three sessions a day. Two of those session she extended to 45-minutes, which kept her in the “high-sweat” zone even longer.

I don’t know why salt baths and saunas are not recommended to all dialysis patients. The near infrared sauna is inexpensive to purchase. It only uses one kilowatt of electricity (13 cents an hour on our bill). It provides an alternate means of eliminating fluid and toxins, other than the bladder.

Yesterday afternoon, Nicole headed off to dialysis at 1:30pm. She wasn’t feeling great, but she felt better than she did last Tuesday. She slept well. “I felt a hint of breathing trouble,” she told me in the morning, “but nothing too bad.” Interestingly, after doing two coffee enemas that morning, the breathing problem went away.

By Tuesday afternoon’s dialysis session Nicole weighed only 2kg heavier than she was after Saturday’s session. Normally she puts on 4kg between dialysis treatments. So this will be a new routine we’ll keep up every Sunday through Monday.

– John C. A. Manley

P.S. For more on how to survive on dialysis check out: Are Low-Phosphorous (Phosphate) Diets Killing Dialysis Patients?

P.P.S. To find out more about the near-infrared sauna we use visit GoHealthyNext.

About the Author: John C. A. Manley researches and writes about alternative treatments for type-1 diabetes and its many complications. His wife, Nicole, of 15 years has had type-1 diabetes for four decades. Together they have lowered her HgbA1c below 5.5%, regained thyroid function, increased kidney function and reversed gastroparesis. Read more about their journey out of the T1D matrix or subscribe to their Diabetic Dharma blog..