Sexual Health & Intimacy

Sexual Health and Intimacy with Kidney Disease

Sex and intimacy can directly impact your quality of life. Changes to sexual health happen to many people in different ways, and are especially common among those living with kidney disease. When you have kidney disease, your sexual health is impacted by your physical health, as well as psychological wellbeing. Common physical symptoms associated with kidney disease can affect sexual health, such as hormonal changes, fatigue, and uremia (waste in your blood). Life on dialysis can also bring about emotional changes which impact sexual health and intimacy, such as depression and changes in your relationships.

Common sexual health concerns for people with kidney disease include:

  • Decrease in sexual desire
  • Erectile dysfunction/decreased arousal
  • Body images changes
  • Difficulty with fertility and pregnancy
  • Less satisfaction with sexual relationships

Sexual health changes can be difficult to discuss with your care team but don’t be afraid to bring up concerns to your doctor, nurse, or social worker. There are ways your physician can help address sexual health concerns by making adjustments to your treatment or changing your medications. You are not alone – sexual health and intimacy are very common concerns among people living with kidney disease.

To find out more about sexual health, intimacy and kidney disease, visit these resources:

https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/sexuality

http://kidneyschool.org/pdfs/KSModule11.pdf

https://www.henryford.com/services/gynecology/treatments/sexual-health