In our past blog, we explored some of the effects CKD can have on the rest of your body and explained how vital our kidneys are to our overall health. In that blog, we touched on some of the effects that CKD has on the reproductive system and fertility, but there are more implications that advanced chronic kidney disease has in terms of sexual health. In this blog, we’re delving deeper into the relationship between CKD and your sexual health and explaining what this means for both men and women.
Having irregular periods can be a symptom found in women experiencing advanced stages of kidney disease. Menstrual flow can either be minimal or heavy and, in most cases, inconsistent. These irregular periods are caused by an accumulation of uremic toxins that can lead to hormonal changes and disrupt normal ovulation. Hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation are vital to fertility, which is why kidney disease can also lead to problems conceiving.
Hormonal changes caused by excess uremic toxins may also lead to a lower sex drive. Additional symptoms of hormonal imbalances include vaginal dryness and an inability to orgasm. Another cause of decreased libido is the general fatigue that commonly accompanies CKD.
Anemia is a condition in which a lack of healthy red blood cells are unable to carry oxygen to the tissues, leading to fatigue and weakness. Anemia often coincides with advanced kidney disease and may also contribute to sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Fortunately, treating anemia using medication may be able to help ease symptoms that affect your sexual health.
Abnormal Sperm Production
Hormonal changes do not just occur in women with CKD but can also be seen in men as well. These hormone imbalances are part of the reason why it’s common for men with advanced kidney disease to have low sperm counts and poor sperm motility. These factors play a role in male infertility.
The previously mentioned fatigue associated with CKD has the potential to affect the male libido as much as the female libido. Hormonal changes, especially low testosterone, can also decrease sex drive in men.
One of the most common side effects in men with advanced kidney disease is erectile dysfunction. Achieving a normal erection requires a healthy nervous and circulatory system, but the occurrence of neuropathy and vascular disease commonly associated with CKD disrupts this, leading to erectile dysfunction. Men with advanced CKD are also subject to accumulating uremic toxins that can interfere with the male reproductive system.
Make an Appointment
At Durham Nephrology, our team is experienced in providing treatment and guidance to kidney patients. Our physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating chronic kidney disease or any other issues with the kidneys. If you have questions or concerns about your kidneys or how advanced stages of chronic kidney disease may be affecting your sexual health, call us at 919-477-3005 to talk to a staff member and make an appointment.