PD uses a cleaning solution called dialysate to draw waste and fluid from your blood, through your peritoneum. Your peritoneum is the lining of the wall that separates the inside of your abdomen from the rest of your body.

When you do PD, you will fill your abdomen (belly area) with dialysate and let it sit in your abdomen for a period of time while it does its job. This time is called a dwell time. Your doctor will tell you how long your dwell time should be. When the dwell time is over, you will drain the used dialysate out of your abdomen and refill your abdomen with fresh dialysate. This process of draining used dialysate and refilling your abdomen with fresh dialysate is called an exchange. Each exchange (drain and refill) usually takes between 30 and 40 minutes. Depending on the type of PD you choose to do, you may do these exchanges yourself or with the help of a machine.

Dialysate has a sugar in it called dextrose, which pulls fluid and waste from your blood, through your peritoneum, into the dialysate. The waste and fluid are held in the dialysate and removed from your body when you do an exchange. PD must be done every day or night. Your doctor will tell you how many exchanges you should do each day. Most people do their PD exchanges at home, but you can do them any place that is clean and dry.