Chronic Kidney Disease and Sexual Functioning

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects both aspects of sexuality, physical and psychological. Nerve function, circulation, energy level and hormones can all change due to CKD. Men with CKD often have diabetes or high blood pressure which may also influence one’s sexual ability.

Chronic Kidney Disease and Sexual Functioning

There are many different ways that chronic kidney disease can interfere with sexual functioning. The first is fatigue. You may simply feel too tired for sex. This is often because a low level of fluid and waste remains in the body. A renal dietitian could be the answer. They can place you on a diet to limit the amount of waste and fluid that builds up, making you feel better and helping desire to return. Hormonal changes may also occur due to kidney disease. Lacking testosterone can cause decreased sex drive or libido and even erectile dysfunction (ED). Your physician should test your hormone levels and perhaps even place you on medication to return your them to normal.

Erectile dysfunction is common among those with CKD. Any portion of the disease may cause ED, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lack of testosterone and body image issues. ED can even be caused by a side effect of the medicines you are taking to treat CKD. Discuss the problem with your physician and see if there are alternatives in medication, if a change in dosage might help, or if the problem is due primarily to body image issues.

It has been documented that a high percentage of people who have CKD have body image issues stemming from changes in their body, such as gaining weight, body odor, complexion problems and more. Worry, fear and stress may also weigh on your mind due to CKD, which can negatively affect sexuality. A counselor or sex therapist can help you work through these issues. There are support groups, even ones you can visit online. Don’t ignore the issue. Speak up and take the reins on CKD and you will dramatically improve your quality of life.

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