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Kidney Cancer and Sexual Dysfunction

Kidney cancer and its treatments often cause problems with sexuality and intimacy. Here are tips for overcoming these issues.

By Dennis Thompson Jr.

Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

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Kidney cancer symptoms and treatment can affect a person's sexuality. The cancer itself along with treatment side effects can cause low libido and sexual dysfunction.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are known to cause sexual problems as well as side effects like pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue that can decrease interest in sex. Surgery to remove a kidney can be painful and require a long period of recovery. Also, treatment can cause emotional and psychological problems like depression and body image issues that can interfere with sexuality.

On top of that, people with kidney disease or those experiencing kidney failure often have sexual difficulties. Men may experience erectile dysfunction as a result of reduced kidney function, and women may have problems with insufficient vaginal lubrication or lack of sexual interest.

But sex is an important part of life, and should not be given up just because you are fighting kidney cancer.

Kidney Cancer and Sex

Here are some tips that can help you preserve your sex life despite kidney cancer treatment side effects.

  • Learn all you can.Ask your doctors and nurses plenty of questions about how your kidney cancer and treatments could cause sexual problems. Ask about possible therapies that could overcome these sexual issues. Armed with this knowledge, you may be able to prepare yourself for low libido and other problems and plan for ways to work through these issues.
  • Communicate with your partner.It may be difficult, but you need to be open in discussing your fears, concerns, and desires with your partner. "Honesty is the first place to start," says Holly Riggs, a licensed oncology social worker at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "What is it you need? If intercourse is not what you need, what do you need? Do you need to be held? Do you need to be touched? Do you need stimulating conversation? You also need to hear what your partner needs, so you can begin finding a satisfactory compromise?"
  • Maintain intimacy.Sexuality does not have to be defined by intercourse alone. You and your partner can share pleasure through stroking or touching. For some cancer patients, that is the best way to enjoy sex while they deal with treatment side effects. Even if there's no sexual intimacy, they maintain physical intimacy. Be sure to cuddle, hug, and hold hands. "Have physical closeness even if there's not going to be sexual intimacy," Riggs says. "It's hard to start that process again if you ever stop. It's hard to get that back."
  • Take your self-esteem seriously.Body-image issues can have a devastating effect on cancer patients' sexuality, as weight loss and hair loss begin to make people feel less attractive. Wear something that makes you feel more handsome or pretty, and take a renewed interest in your grooming. Take part in activities that help you feel good about yourself. Eating right and exercising can make you feel positive about yourself and help you maintain your health.

Above all else, understand that you are not the only kidney cancer patient who has ever had these problems. You can resolve them and maintain a healthy sex life, but you must be open and honest with your partner and willing to seek help. "Be patient with yourself," Riggs says. "And if there is a physical reason for the problem, definitely seek the advice of your physician.






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Date: 11.12.2018, 09:39 / Views: 73462