Cramping is dialysis occurs frequently, and usually patients have muscle cramps in the legs and feet, but cramping may also involve arm and hands, as well as abdomen. Severe cramping cause pain that sometimes makes dialysis patients unbearable. There are some treatments that can relieve severe cramping. Now I would like to give the patients an introduction.
Causes of severe cramping in dialysis
There are many factors that contribute to muscle cramps in dialysis. A decrease in body fluid volume, abnormally low blood pressure, changes in electrolyte-water balance, low levels of sodium, inadequate oxygen, low magnesium in blood, carnitine (an amino acid) deficiency, and elevated serum leptin (a hormone that regulate appetite and energy). Patients who experience severe cramping associated with dialysis have been reported to have lower parathyroid hormone levels than patients who do not experience cramps. In addition, low concentrations of sodium in the dialyzate bath, and increased ultrafiltration required to remove excess fluid are factors related to the dialysis procedure itself, which increases the risk of muscle cramps.
Treatment of severe cramping in dialysis
1. Non-pharmacological strategies
There are some home remedies that patients can try to relieve muscle cramps. Stretching the muscles or massaging the painful area is both natural and effective. Some gentle exercise like riding and walking before dialysis are also helpful for preventing muscle cramps.
Meanwhile, the patients should regularly elevate their dry weight to minimize the weight gains between dialysis treatment. If the patients have low blood pressure, they can ask the doctor to slow or stop ultrafiltration or reduce the blood flow rate.
2. Pharmacotherapy options
If non-pharmacological treatment does not work, then patients can discuss with their doctors to take some pharmacotherapy options. Quinine is a medication that has been used for many years for the treatment of cramping. Yet, there is a debate that there are some side effects of Quinine. Studies suggest that vitamin E may be an alternative. A short-term trial of vitamin E can be considered. However, interactions with anticoagulants (i.e warfarin or heparin), and a concern for adverse effects for risk of bleeding may limit its use in dialysis patients.
You can see that both medicines and vitamins are not completely safe. Therefore, I recommend dialysis patients to try Medicated Bath. This therapy is based on traditional Chinese herbs, which have been proved natural and effective.