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What Is Peritoneal Dialysis?

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If your doctor tells you that you are having problems with your kidneys, they will probably tell you that you need to have dialysis. Dialysis means that your blood is going to be cleaned artificially so that all the waste can get out of your blood system so that it doesn't cause damage to your body. In the past, dialysis meant that you went to the hospital or treatment center a few times a week and spent time hooked up to an artificial kidney machine that cycled the blood out of your body and cleaned it. However, there are now other dialysis treatment options. One of the is called peritoneal dialysis. 

Peritoneal Dialysis

With peritoneal dialysis, instead of pumping your blood through a machine to clean it out, your own body does the work without your kidneys. Instead, the lining of your belly helps to clean out the waste and make sure that your blood is nice and clean. This kind of dialysis needs to be done daily, but it is something that you can do yourself, at home, and something that you can work around your daily life. 

How it Works

The way it works is that your doctor will insert a catheter that goes into your belly. This will be done surgically so that the doctor can make sure that it's properly placed and help it be as painless as possible. The catheter is something that will stay in your belly, and you will need to make sure that you keep it clean and covered when not in use so that you don't get an infection. When it's time for your treatment, you will put in a sterile cleaning fluid called dialysate into your belly and let it do its work. When the work is done, you will need to drain the fluid and dispose of it. There are two kinds of peritoneal dialysis. 

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis

CAPD lets you go about your day while you are being treated. You will put around two quarts of the cleaning fluid in through your catheter, and then 20 minutes later, you will drain it. You can go around doing whatever you need to do while you are doing the treatment. You will need to do this three to four times a day, so you might want to do it while you are eating. 

Automated Peritoneal Dialysis

With this method, instead of using the cleaning fluid three or four times a day, you hook a machine up to your catheter and it will do the work. Generally, this happens while you are asleep so you aren't tied down to the machine while you are trying to get everything done. 

If you have problems with your kidneys, you are going to need treatment to make sure that your body doesn't incur any more damage. There are different kinds of dialysis that you can try.