The National Kidney Foundation posted an article about it. We want to share it with our patients because it is important to remember that people with kidney failure can have healthy marriages and meaningful relationships. They can fall in love, care for families, and be sexual. Staying intimate with those you love is essential. It is something everyone needs.

Some people find it difficult to talk about sex. Many things can affect your sexuality if you have kidney disease or kidney failure — hormones, nerves, energy levels, even medicine. You need to talk to your healthcare team, who will help you deal with these changes. Don't be afraid to ask questions or get help from a healthcare professional.

What if interest in sex is lost?

You may have been spending most of your time and energy focusing on how chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dialysis have affected your daily activities such as work, household chores, diet, and finances. You also may have been dealing with treatment difficulties, medication management, and physical limitations. 

So it is expected that changes in your levels of sexual interest and activity may fall at the bottom of your list of priorities.

Emotions can also affect sexual functioning, including stress, depression, nerves, fear of disability or death, marriage problems, and much more. For some people, having kidney disease may cause physical changes that can make them feel less attractive.  

It is essential to know you are not alone. Listed below are several sexuality issues, factors, and barriers faced by patients with kidney disease.

Common sexuality issues associated with chronic kidney disease:

Men
Decreased interest in sexual activities
Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection
Difficulty achieving ejaculation
Fear of rejection
Feelings of inadequacy
Concerns about body image

Women
Decreased interest in sexual activity
Difficulty in achieving sexual arousal
Difficulty in achieving orgasm
Sexual pain
Feelings of inadequacy
Difficulty with pregnancy and high risk of miscarriage
Concerns about body image

Is sex safe for kidney patients?

Some patients and their partners may worry that sexual activity could cause the patient's death or harm the dialysis access or transplanted kidney. In general, no limitations need to be placed on kidney patients sexually. Fear can cause people to avoid sexual activity needlessly. It is essential to ask your doctor.

If your healthcare provider says it is all right to resume sexual activity, there is no reason to worry about damaging the transplanted kidney.

What can kidney patients do to help themselves?

Sex and dialysis can go together.
Dialysis can present its challenges when it comes to sex and intimacy. However, understanding common concerns or questions can help you feel more relaxed about being intimate.

Take an active role in learning about kidney disease and treatment. Follow the prescribed diet and fluid limits. Take all medications properly and tell the doctor of any side effects. Ask for an exercise program to help muscle tone, strength, and endurance.

Your doctor and dietitian can suggest a weight gain or loss program if needed. Lead a healthy lifestyle. Be aware of other things that could affect your sexual functioning, such as drinking too much alcohol and smoking.

What about having children?

While sperm production will not be affected by kidney disease, complications in utero may occur. A new baby is a joy for any family. However, pregnancy can put much stress on your body.

If you have kidney disease or kidney failure, it can put you and the health of your unborn child at risk. It can also make your kidney disease worse. If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, you should discuss it carefully with your doctor.

Sharing individual sexual needs and difficulties with a partner can create understanding and, in some ways, more intimacy. Stress reduction and coping skills are also crucial in resuming a healthy sex life and your overall welfare. 

Couples who find that their sex lives are changing should talk to their nephrologist. Many of these problems can be treated, and your healthcare provider will be able to help you.