Is it Painful to Have Dialysis?

After a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease or renal failure, your doctor will usually recommend dialysis. Undergoing this necessary medical treatment will not only help improve your quality of life, but it will also help you survive until a kidney transplant can be performed.

If your doctor has recommended dialysis you may be concerned that this type of treatment is painful. Help prepare yourself to undergo this type of treatment by learning more about how you can expect to feel during and after dialysis.

The Entire Experience is Relatively Pain-Free

Undergoing dialysis treatment is an emotionally draining experience, but it is relatively pain-free. If you are undergoing hemodialysis, a form of the treatment that involves using a needle, you may experience a slight pinching sensation when the needle is inserted. A topical numbing medicine can be applied to the injection site to reduce any pain you may experience from the insertion of the needle.

Expect to See Improvements to Your Health After Starting Treatment

Unless you are experiencing other underlying health issues, you can expect to start seeing improvements to your health after starting treatment for chronic kidney disease or renal failure. Each person is different, but typically improvements in your health can be seen in approximately a week. However, it can take some people four to six weeks to see improvements.

Dialysis Treatment can Cause Some Side Effects

Just because the treatment is pain-free doesn’t mean you won’t experience any adverse side effects or symptoms after treatment. Some patients may experience uncomfortable side effects and symptoms from dialysis treatment. Luckily, these side effects and symptoms are relatively easy to manage.

Some of the side effects and symptoms you may experience after starting treatment for chronic kidney disease or renal failure include:

  • Fluid retention
  • Muscle cramps
  • Abdominal pain  
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

Some things you can do to reduce your chances of experience some of these side effects and symptoms include:

  • Getting regular exercise while undergoing treatment
  • Follow all instructions given by your healthcare team especially any instructions involving limitations and restrictions to your diet or fluid intake
  • Follow your treatment schedule
  • Resume normal activities as soon as possible once you start treatment

If you experience any side effects or symptoms it is important to notify your healthcare team right away. Adjustments to your treatment plan can often reduce or eliminate many side effects and symptoms that you are experiencing.

Work with a Team of Experienced Healthcare Professionals for Treatment

The healthcare team at Associates in Nephrology has experience in making the dialysis experience as pain-free and symptom-free as possible. Call our office today to schedule an appointment to learn more about how we can help you while you seek treatment for chronic kidney disease or renal failure.