Kidney School™—a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Module 11—Sexuality and Fertility


Weight loss or gain

If you are concerned about weighing too much or too little, talk with a renal dietitian. He or she can suggest things to eat that will help you gain or lose weight:

  • If you are on standard in-center HD it may be easy for you to gain fluid weight but not so easy to gain real weight.
  • PD dialysate has sugar in it. You may need to limit other carbs to avoid putting on weight.
  • If you have a transplant, you may gain weight or your face may become rounder from the steroids you have to take. These problems may fade when your doctor reduces your drug dosage.

Good nutrition and regular exercise are important to help you live well and feel good about yourself.

My husband is a very attractive man, raised in a family that is fanatical about looks. Let's just say that my polycystic kidney disease (PKD) has given me that 9 months pregnant look...oh, to have my waistline back. I have always had a weight problem, but I had a figure at least! So what can you do about it? You can thank God daily that you are still drawing breath and be who you can be and do what you can do. I find that when I am able to help someone else, my own troubles fade. –Deb, on home hemodialysis since 1996

I had just, after years of working on it, lost [weight] and was for the first time in years feeling great about my figure when I started CAPD. Now, a year later, I am 20 pounds overweight, plus the big belly. No wonder I don't feel attractive to my husband. He is more than understanding. He is more than willing. He doesn't seem to have a problem with it, but I sure do.

Limb Loss and Body Image

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, and also the leading cause of limb loss. Amputation can affect your body image as well as your mobility. If you and your partner are coping with limb loss, you'll need to give yourselves time to grieve the loss and adapt to it.

It helps to talk with someone else who has gone through the same thing. The Amputee Coalition of America can help you find answers and resources. Their contact information is in the resources section at the end of this module.

Page 8 of 69 | Further reading