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How You May Feel After Your First Peritoneal Dialysis Treatment

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

You may feel this way initially but hopefully not throughout your duration of treatments.

Once your kidneys begin fail, your body may become unable to produce urine. Unless you have a kidney awaiting you, dialysis will need to be started in order to sustain your life. Dialysis works to remove the toxins and excess waste that your body is no longer converting to urine.

Peritoneal Dialysis is Performed Daily

There are several different types of dialysis. Whichever type you choose will have to be performed until you receive a kidney transplant. If you have chosen peritoneal dialysis (PD) as your form of dialysis, these treatments must be performed daily.

How Peritoneal Dialysis Works

When you’re on peritoneal dialysis, the dialysis solution is infused via PD catheter into the peritoneal cavity in your belly. The solution typically dwells for about an hour or two before it’s then drained back out of the body.

During those two hour dwell times, some find it difficult to eat breakfast, lunch, drink water, or even move their body due to the amount of solution that was pumped into their belly to dwell. Some find it very uncomfortable.

Have you ever seen a snake eat some large animal and it looked like it was going to burst? If not, just imagine that for a second. That’s how some feel when initially starting peritoneal dialysis. We’ve heard PD patients say that they wondered how their stomach was even able to hold the amount of liquid that the dialysis machine was pumping [“infusing”] in there.

How You May Feel After Your First Peritoneal Treatment

After your first treatment, you may experience bad cramps, headaches, extreme hunger, and exhaustion like no other. You may feel like you've taken several sleeping pills so give yourself several hours of rest before starting your day. Standing up quickly could make you feel weak so try rise slowly.


Remember, the symptoms mentioned in this article are not symptoms that everyone on peritoneal dialysis experiences. Also, many who do experience these symptoms say that they only experience them once first beginning PD. As your body adjusts to the treatment, the symptoms can fade.


This page contains general information about peritoneal dialysis. Medical knowledge and practice can change rapidly. Therefore, this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.


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