Kidney dialysis is a lifesaving process that helps replace some of the function of your kidneys, and can extend your life with kidney failure. That is perhaps the most important detail about dialysis to remember. It is also, however, good to know the facts about dialysis and what to expect if you are facing this treatment.
There are many unpleasant side effects of kidney dialysis that you might have to deal with. Preparation is key to just about everything, however, and being prepared and knowing what to expect can help you through this potentially difficult process. Side effects for each person will vary, as well as the severity. Some people might have a terrible go of it, and suffer with harsh side effects, while others might not feel as bad.
Here are some common side effects of kidney dialysis:
Fatigue— Most dialysis patients report feeling very tired and fatigued almost all of the time. This could be due to blood loss, poor nutrition, or simply because your body is working so hard to compensate for the lack of working kidneys.
Nausea and Vomiting— Nausea and vomiting is fairly common with dialysis, but should be reported to rule out infection.
Infections— Especially in the case of peritoneal dialysis, infections can occur. These infections can occur around the catheter site itself, or in the peritoneum, which is the part of the abdomen where the catheter is placed. Infections should be seen to immediately.
Cramps-– Muscle cramps are common for patients that undergo hemodialysis. This may have something to do with the rapid removal of fluid from the body. Cramps typically occur in the legs.
Itchy Skin— Some dialysis patients complain of having itchy skin after dialysis. This is thought to be due to excess phosphorus in the system, which is not removed during dialysis. This is one reason why following your dietary restrictions is very important.
Dizziness— Dizziness is a side effect that is usually linked to a drop in blood pressure.
Bloating— Fluid loss, as well as the removal and replacement of fluid in the body during dialysis, can cause bloating and weight gain.
Hernias— Hernias can become a problem with peritoneal dialysis, because the catheter can weaken abdominal muscles. The extra strain can cause tears, or hernias, in the abdominal wall.
Blood Pressure Issues— Low blood pressure is often a problem with hemodialysis, especially if too much fluid is removed from the blood supply. Low blood pressure can cause nausea and dizziness, and should be reported right away.
Dialysis is certainly tough on your entire body, but despite the uncomfortable side effects of kidney dialysis, is a lifesaving treatment that can extend your life and health. As you begin your dialysis treatment, be aware of these potential side effects. It will help you to know what to expect, and also what side effects you should report to your healthcare provider to prevent any worsening symptoms or more serious issues. Remember to always ask your physician or healthcare providers any questions you have that come up, and discuss your symptoms with them regularly. They might be able to help alleviate some discomfort, and will be better able to keep an eye out for more serious problems, including infections.
Read our other blogs for more information about kidney dialysis and side effects of kidney dialysis.