SEXUALITY WHILE ON DIALYSIS
Suffering from a chronic or end-stage kidney disease might affect various aspects of your life such as your work, diet, household chores, finances or physical abilities. Kidney failure and dialysis may also negatively affect another very important aspect, which is your “sexuality” and your ability to have a normal sex life, either directly through a number of medical conditions that may stand in the way of your sexual function, or indirectly through making you lose desire. The high stress caused by kidney failure and the grieving process that follows along with other consequences of this health problem can add “sexuality issues” to your list of things that you need to deal with.
SEXUALITY VS SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
An important thing to note is that sexuality doesn’t mean only sexual intercourse. Sexuality extend to include other sex-related acts such as kissing, hugging, holding hands, or touching, or feelings such as how you feel about yourself and your partner or how willing you are to get into a new relationship or work on your existing one.
In some cases, the patient may feel that he/she is not that into sexual intercourse any more, or that it isn’t important as it once was. In such cases, kissing, touching or hugging can provide sense of closeness and warmth that can replace the intercourse itself.
THINGS THAT AFFECT SEXUALITY WHILE ON DIALYSIS
- Sexuality while on dialysis can be affected by:
- Emotional instability
- Loss of desire
- Change of body image
- Change of the way you view yourself (feeling that you aren’t a whole man or woman)
- Erectile problems
- Sexual pain
- Anorgasmia (inability or difficulty to reach orgasm)
- If you are a partner of a kidney-failure patient, try to communicate with your partner regarding your sexuality issues. You may need to reach out for help or try sex therapy.
THE BAD NEWS
The bad news is that dialysis and renal failure makes your sexual problems “complex”. Usually there are multiple reasons why things go wrong with you not just one, and each reason should be taken care of individually. The cause of sexual dysfunction can be physical, psychological or both.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that you CAN have a completely normal sex life if you decided you deserve to … and you do. Nearly all problems that might be the reason for your sexual dysfunction can be solved. Consult your healthcare provider about this and he will discuss with you the options you can try. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. There is no limitations that are required to be placed on patients on dialysis sexually. You might need to make adjustments to your treatment and medications or avoid placing tension or pressure on your access site, but as long as you and your partner are keen on getting your sex life to how it was, you will be able to take this off your list.