Dialysis Side Effects – 9 Common Effects Kidney Patients Experience

Dialysis Side Effects – 9 Common Effects Kidney Patients Experience

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Those with kidney disease sometimes go through dialysis treatment to help the function of their kidneys. It’s an option that many people see as their last one and on the whole, it does work very well. There are some dialysis side effects which you need to be aware of however. Let’s have a look at these dialysis side effects including information on why they occur and possible cures that might help.

1. Fatigue

Tiredness occurs when people go through all different kinds of dialysis, for a number of different illnesses. This is the most common side effect of the treatment and it happens due to a combination of the effects that dialysis has on the body and dietary restrictions that might be necessary due to the treatment itself. Exercise might actually help your fatigue, even though it might sound like it would do the opposite. Low-medium intensity exercises are recommended like cycling, walking, swimming or running.


2. Low blood pressure

Another side effect to dialysis is low blood pressure, this is due to a drop in fluid levels during the process. Nausea and dizziness often then occur because these symptoms go hand in hand with a low blood pressure. If you want to reduce your chances of this or just improve the symptoms, make sure you are drinking a lot of water throughout the day and eating small, regular meals.


3. Sepsis

Blood poisoning or sepsis can sometimes happen to those who have just had dialysis. This happens by bacteria entering the body and spreading around the blood. This is a very scary side effect because it can actually result in multiple organ failure. Dizziness and a fever are both symptoms that you could have sepsis. If you think you might have it, you will need to immediately go to hospital to be treated with medication.


4. Muscle cramps

Lower legs cramps are quite common during dialysis treatment because of the fluid loss that inadvertently occurs. Medication might be available if your cramps get particularly painful but usually it’s just a case of riding it out.





5. Itchy skin

A build up of minerals in the body can result in itchy skin, which makes this one of the common dialysis side effects. There can be creams and moisturizers that you can use to sooth your skin and lessen this symptom so try a few and see what works for you.


6. Weight gain

One particularly common side effect of dialysis is weight gain and bloating. In certain types of treatments, sugar molecules are fed into the skin which can result in a big increase of daily calories. One thing that you can do to stop weight gain occurring is to reduce your calorie intake by a couple of hundred a day through your diet. Make sure that you do this the right way however, by eating healthy food. When there has already been so much strain on your body, you don’t want to make this even worse by doing a silly fad diet!


7. Hernia

A side effect that can happen as a result of peritoneal dialysis are hernias. This is due to the insertion of a catheter disrupting the abdominal walls and weakening the muscles in that area. There are different severity of hernias but unfortunately the only way to get rid of them is through surgery.



8. Feeling full

A common side effect of dialysis that is not harmful but can feel quite frustrating is feeling too full even if your eating habits have not changed. This is a result of the dialysis solution sitting uncomfortably in the stomach. While eating less might make you feel better, it is not very good on a nutritional level.


9. Sexual side effects

There are some side effects of dialysis that can impact your sex life and these can happen quite regularly. This includes vaginal dryness, impotence and lack of desire. There is not much you can do about this side effect but it is known to go away eventually.



If you decide to go through one of the several dialysis treatments that are available for those with kidney disease, it’s important you know what to prepare for. While the process itself can help your condition and leave you healthier, there are the dialysis side effects that you need to be aware of.