When your kidneys fail, it means they have stopped working well enough for you to survive without treatment. There is no cure for kidney failure (also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD)). But, many people live long lives on dialysis or with a kidney transplant. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment is best for you.
The main treatments for kidney failure are:
Dialysis helps your body get rid of waste and extra fluids in your blood. But, it cannot do everything that healthy kidneys do. This means you may have some of the health problems that come with kidney failure even though you are on dialysis.
One treatment for kidney failure is called hemodialysis, or “hemo” for short. This type of treatment uses a machine to clean your blood. It can be done at a dialysis center or at home. Learn more about in-center hemodialysis and home hemodialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis is a treatment that cleans your blood by using the lining of your belly area (abdomen), called your peritoneum, and a cleaning solution called dialysate. Peritoneal dialysis may be done at home or even at work if you have a private, clean area. Learn more about how peritoneal dialysis works.
A kidney transplant is a surgery to give you a healthy kidney from someone else’s body. A kidney transplant may come from a live donor (usually someone you know) or from a deceased donor. The healthy kidney can do the job that your kidneys did when they were healthy. Learn more about transplants.
You may choose not to get dialysis or a transplant. If so, medical management is a way to treat the symptoms of kidney failure to help you live comfortably until your body can no longer function. Medical management is not a treatment for kidney failure and it will not keep you alive. Learn more about medical management.