Complications of peritoneal dialysis can include:

  • Infections. An infection of the abdominal lining (peritonitis) is a common complication of peritoneal dialysis. An infection can also develop at the site where the catheter is inserted to carry the cleansing fluid (dialysate) into and out of your abdomen. The risk of infection is greater if the person doing the dialysis isn't adequately trained.
  • Weight gain. The dialysate contains sugar (dextrose). Absorbing some of the dialysate might cause you to take in several hundred extra calories a day, leading to weight gain. The extra calories can also cause high blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes.
  • Hernia. Holding fluid in your abdomen for long periods may strain your muscles.
  • Inadequate dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis can become ineffective after several years. You might need to switch to hemodialysis.

If you have peritoneal dialysis, you'll need to avoid:

  • Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that can damage your kidneys, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Soaking in a bath or hot tub, or swimming in a lake, pond, river or nonchlorinated pool — which increases the risk of infection. Showers and swimming in a chlorinated pool are generally acceptable.