Common Side Effects of Dialysis and Ways to Prevent Them

Before we dive deep into the side effects of the Dialysis procedures, let us unfold what the Dialysis procedure is. Dialysis is a treatment under the Nephrology department to treat failing kidneys. It is a life-saving treatment categorized into two types:- Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis. Both these procedures perform normal kidney functions and filter out waste and excess fluid from the blood. Some people develop kidney problems without knowing any reason for a long-term condition. Generally, people who have kidney failure or end-stage renal disease need dialysis. High blood pressure, diabetes, or lupus are the most common reasons behind developing kidney disease.

The side effects of the treatment could be many, but most side effects are manageable if you follow the guidelines strictly. Let us categorize side effects under specific treatment types.

Side Effects Under Peritoneal Dialysis Treatment

  • Hernia

Hernia is a side effect that falls under PD; it is more of a home dialysis treatment. Now, in this procedure, a catheter is inserted in and out of the abdominal cavity to allow the dialysis solution that can slow down the functioning of the muscles. These muscles help in keeping the internal organs in place. Now, during the entire procedure, the dialysis solution can put pressure on the weak muscles. It can cause a tear and cause the organ to push out. However, the only solution that may prevent it from happening again is surgery that can repair a hernia.     

  • Feeling Full After Eating

Patients undergoing PD procedures can sometimes feel full after the dialysis solution gets in. They feel like eating less as it can make them feel better, but leading to malnutrition. Hence, the prevention is adhering to a PD diet that can fulfill nutrition requirements. Treatments taken after having meals can release the discomfort. 

  • Bloating

Another common side effect experienced after the PD procedure is bloating and weight gain. Well, if you believe that only you have side effects, you are not alone; one of the reasons behind feeling so is because of the weight of the fluid, and weight gain arises because of sugar in the dialysis solution absorbed by the body. To prevent it, take advice from your dietitian on balancing your nutritional needs to feel more comfortable.

Side Effects Under Hemodialysis Treatment

  • Dry Skin

High phosphorus levels are generally responsible for dry skin after an HD procedure. Phosphorus isn’t removed during the Dialysis treatment, so the dietitian does not recommend foods rich in phosphorus. The best prevention is adhering to the guidelines of your dietitians. Therefore, patients on the Dialysis procedure become more prone to dry skin. So avoiding soaps that are harsh and using moisturizer is the best remedy.   

  • Cramps in Muscle

In the Hemodialysis procedure, the patient will feel muscle cramps due to excess fluid being removed. The best way to get rid of those muscle cramps is to ask the doctor and take some remedies.

  • Having Low Blood Pressure

Another very commonly found side effect after an HD procedure is low blood pressure. It can happen when excess fluid gets removed from the blood leading to low blood pressure. It can further cause nausea and dizziness. The best way to get rid of this is to take advice from the dialysis team in the Nephrology department and fix the issues.

Frequently Asked Question

Question:- Is there any restriction on activities when a patient is on Dialysis treatment?

Answer:- Patients can continue with their lives. They can work, travel, and do all their daily activities. However, patients undergoing Peritoneal Dialysis should restrict their exercises when the abdomen is full with the solution. Otherwise, patients can do exercises or even participate in sports as well.    

Bottom Line

Dialysis is a treatment that saves your life from kidney failure and other renal diseases. Patients are free to stay on the Dialysis treatment for a long time or until they get a kidney transplant done. The patient can undergo dialysis at home or in the hospital in the Nephrology department. The doctor or healthcare provider of the Nephrology department can give the best advice. 

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