These Social Workers are deeply invested in their clients' wellbeing, and they know what they're doing.
Here are some important take-home messages:
- Sexual function is like the "canary in the coal mine." When the body isn't working well, sexual function suffers.
- The majority of End Stage Renal Disease is caused by Type II Diabetes and/or Hypertension (high blood pressure). Both of these conditions impact a person's over-all health.
- Many medications - including those used to treat high blood pressure and depression - may impair sexual function. But there may be alternative medications available.
- Kidney transplant is the Renal Replacement Therapy that is associated with the best sexual function.
|Steve with his niece and kidney donor, Teresa|
- The frequency and quality of dialysis both impact sexual function. Peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis may be superior to in-Center dialysis for greater normalcy of life in general - including sexual interest and functioning.
- Body image is critical to a healthy sex life, and there are some tricks for concealing and protecting a PD catheter or a precious fistula!
- Medications for erectile dysfunction can often be used in kidney patients, with two important caveats: they are contraindicated with certain BP medications (nitrates), and they must be dosed appropriately with impaired kidney function in mind.
Helpful tips for talking about sexual issues include the following:
- Rehearse if you're uncomfortable talking about sex
- Start with euphemisms ("How has your kidney disease impacted your marriage?")
- Normalize the situation ("Many people with kidney disease find that they are less interested in sex. What has your experience been?")
Linda Gromko, MD