Kidney failure may turn your world upside-down. It can wreak havoc to your career, home life and daily routine. The kidneys’ functions are very vital to our bodies since they are responsible for cleaning the blood and helps in the production of red blood cells. Kidneys are also responsible in getting rid of unwanted water and waste product from our bodies. This is why it is imperative that you take care of your kidneys to keep them healthy.
When your kidneys fail, dialysis may be necessary to remove the waste in your blood. Dialysis will not cure kidney failure and its functions are not as efficient as those of healthy kidneys, but it replaces the kidneys functions in filtering the blood and removing wastes from it. Kidney failure and dialysis causes many unwanted changes in the body. One main problem that most kidney failure patients go through especially in men is the effect it has on their sex life. Many researches have been done to find out the testosterone levels on dialysis and its effects.
Testosterone is commonly known as the “male” hormone. It is a sex hormone that is produced by the testes and causes the male sexual characteristics. It helps maintain red blood cell and sperm production, sex drive, strengthens bone density and muscle mass and helps with the fat distribution in the body.
Low levels of testosterone may cause many physical changes which can include increase in body fat, weak bones and less energy. It may also reduced libido or sexual desire and can contribute to depression and other emotional problems.
Dialysis and Testosterone Levels
Low testosterone levels may likely be one of the causes of impotence. Most men receiving dialysis experience difficulty with their sex lives due to erectile dysfunction or impotence. However, is it the dialysis treatment itself that is causing the testosterone levels to drop?
Studies show that kidney failure causes testosterone levels in men to go down and not the dialysis procedure itself. Research conducted regarding the relationship between testosterone levels and dialysis states that “Treatment with maintenance haemodialysis does not itself affect the plasma testosterone level, or alter the circadian rhythm despite the procedure’s being a stress(4)."
A more detailed study published by The Endocrine Society states that there were no significant differences in the levels of testosterones in men undergoing kidney dialysis compared with those that were not.
Although it is apparent that kidney failure causes testosterone levels to decrease in men, the effects of dialysis on testosterone levels is still in the early stages of research. However, conclusions from the studies already conducted states that the change in testosterone levels during dialysis is very small to make a significant difference.