Water and Salt...and More Water and Salt!
POTS patients typically have low blood volume - which contributes to the difficulties of pumping enough blood through the body. Drinking water can help increase blood volume, and doctors recomment 75 to 100 ounces a day (2500 to 3000 mL). Meghan pretty consistently drinks 6 Propels a day. This is in addition to any other drinks she may consume during the day.
POTS patients also generally need lots of salt. Why salt? It naturally increases blood pressure. It is actually difficult for someone with POTS to take in too much salt in one day. The average adult should limit their salt intake to 2300 mg or less - for Meghan, we try to have her take in at least 5000 to 7000 mg a day.
At first, this was like climbing a mountain. Everything I cooked was low salt because I thought that was healthy for all of us - she was not used to having salty foods. She tried drinking broth and eating pickles - both of which she now gags at the site of. One doctor suggested adding salt to gatorade - 1 teaspoon of table salt! Gatorade tends to upset Meghan's stomach depending on the day and we found that Propel was the best choice for her with flavors she liked and no stomach pains. One neurologist we saw told us about Limon 7 pictured above. I buy bag fulls from Amazon but some grocery stores like Woodman's carry it. It is a Mexican lemon flavored salt that has 550 mg of salt in each individual packet. We add one packet to each Propel (which already has 160 mg of salt) and it dissolves fairly quickly. This is an easy way for her to take in the water she needs and 4,260 mg of salt.
Every morning we mix up 6 salty bottles of Propel and add to 3 washable water bottles that she prefers to use throughout the day. She has a pretty good system for finding time for lots of bathroom breaks during school. Some POTS patients take salt tablets to increase their salt intake. For Meghan, they sat in her stomach like rocks and caused stomach pains and bad breath. Everyone is different and has to experiment with what works best for them.
Pretzels, chips, and soups are more good sources of salt that she enjoys. Keep in mind that when you have a lot of nausea and stomachaches that are related to POTS that it is really hard to eat salty things or drink large amounts of water. The last thing you want to do is put something in a stomach that hurts. After Meghan started her IVIG therapy, she had a very noticeable drop in the amount of nausea and stomachaches.