Psychosocial consequences of gastrointestinal symptoms and dietary changes in people receiving automated peritoneal dialysis

Emily Duncanson, Anna Chur-Hansen, Shilpanjali Jesudason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms are associated with poor psychosocial wellbeing among people receiving peritoneal dialysis (PD). The mind-gut axis represents one possible explanatory mechanism for this relationship. Despite existing evidence, the individual's experience of GI symptoms and their potential psychosocial consequences have not been explored.

OBJECTIVE: To understand the experiences of people receiving peritoneal dialysis regarding their gastrointestinal health and psychosocial wellbeing.

METHOD: Ten people undergoing automated PD (five females, five males) aged 31-77 years (Mean = 59.3, SD = 15.67) participated in a single one-on-one qualitative interview. Interviews ceased at thematic saturation. Transcripts were analysed using the framework approach.

RESULTS: A central theme of Autonomy emerged from the data representing participants' experiences of the psychosocial consequences of dialysis, GI symptoms, and dietary changes. This overarched two main themes: 1) Loss of Autonomy [Sub-themes: Interference to Daily Life (Dialysis process and sleep, Impacts on relationships), Powerlessness, Frustration, Food Aversion, and Restriction (Friendships and social life, Impacts on partner)] and 2) Attempts to Gain Autonomy (Sub-themes: Coping Well, Pragmatism, and Maintaining Normality). A related sub-theme of Partner as a Carer emerged as part of Loss of Autonomy.

CONCLUSION: GI symptoms and diet and fluid restrictions have psychosocial consequences resulting in multiple losses of autonomy for people receiving PD, who employ strategies to attempt to regain autonomy in the face of these issues. Dietary and GI symptom management advice should aim to enhance patient autonomy within the confines of PD therapy and thus reduce its psychosocial impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Renal Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 2019


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Caregivers/psychology
  • Diet Therapy/psychology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases/complications
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic/methods
  • Male
  • Peritoneal Dialysis/psychology
  • Personal Autonomy
  • South Australia

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