Having Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) should not stop you leading a full and active life.
However you may need to make some changes because of your treatment. Support from other people may help. These may include health and social care professionals, family, friends and other people with CKD.
Getting the most out of your life
Many people find it helpful to talk about how their condition affects them.
Since I found out I had CKD my emotions have been changing all the time. Why does this happen and is it common?
It is normal to feel a range of emotions when you are told you have a long term condition. These may include feelings of anger, sadness, worry and disbelief. If you are finding it difficult to cope with these changing emotions and would like some support or someone to talk to, you should ask to speak with a counsellor or pyschologist.
Some kidney units also offer Peer Support. This is support from other kidney patients. You can also talk to your nurse or doctor if you have any worries or concerns about any personal issues.
How will Chronic Kidney Disease affect the way I look?
People with CKD sometimes have concerns about how they look. If you have dialysis you will need to have a fistula, dialysis line or PD catheter. If you have a transplant you will have a scar, although this will fade with time.
I am not interested in sex any more, is this common?
You might find that you are more tired, feeling down and have less interest in sex. The medication you are taking might also affect your sex drive. Men may experience difficulties getting and keeping an erection and in women orgasms may be less frequent. You may find it helpful to talk to someone - please do not be embarrassed to ask for advice. There are many effective treatments available.
Will I still be able to have children?
If you are not yet on dialysis and have not had a transplant, becoming pregnant might make your kidney function worse. Women with CKD tend to be less fertile and might find it more difficult to get pregnant.
Women on dialysis are unlikely to become pregnant. However, it is still possible so it is very important to use contraception to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Successful pregnancies are rare, but not unheard of, for women on dialysis.
Those with a well functioning transplanted kidney have the best chance of a normal pregnancy. Women are usually advised to wait at least a year after transplant before trying for a baby. It is important that women talk to their doctor or nurse before trying for a baby as their medication might need to be changed.
Men with CKD are likely to have a lower sperm count. After a successful kidney transplant the sperm count usually increases.
Will my children have chronic kidney disease?
Some kidney conditions are inherited but most are not. Ask your doctor about the cause of your kidney disease. If you are planning to have children talk to your healthcare team about your concerns.