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

Module 11—Sexuality and Fertility

Sex and the vascular access

If you worry that having sex will hurt your fistula, graft, or catheter, talk to your doctor or nurse. Ask how you can protect your access during sex. In general, you need to avoid putting direct pressure on a fistula or graft. Keep a catheter clean and dry and avoid tugging or pulling on it.

If you do standard in-center HD three times a week, you may be too worn out on a treatment day to feel like being intimate. Ask your doctor about daily or nocturnal HD. Patients who do these treatments say they have more energy—and much better sexual function, too. In fact, when patients were surveyed, those on standard three times a week HD rated their sex lives as 1.6 on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 high). Patients doing daily home HD rated their sex lives as 4.4. And, those doing nocturnal home HD rated their sex lives a 9.2.

Here's what one person said about doing daily HD:

One thing I'm really thankful for is the return of my libido. I'm not joking here. When it is gone you don't really miss it, but when it is there, you wouldn't want to lose it for the world.

Nocturnal HD creates a new set of challenges. If you get treatments in a center, you are away from your partner three nights a week, which is something to get used to. At home, you may not want to have sex while the machine is running. This may mean that you need to be flexible with your timing (e.g., before you start the machine at night or after you stop in the morning) or where you choose to be intimate with your partner.

Page 10 of 69 | Further reading