National Kidney Month (No, Not the Beans)

March 7th, 2015
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Female Anatomical Drawing

Image by Gerd Altmann From Freiburg, Deutschland - Pixabay.com

March is National Kidney Month, and we think it's important for you to take care of your kidneys. Chronic kidney disease is more prevalent among women, particularly in women over 50, and most genetic kidney disorders are passed on matrilineally – that is, through the mother's genes.

Although treatment for chronic kidney disease is nearly identical, there are some issues that are unique to women and require special attention.

In addition to the expected malaise and anxiety brought on by suffering from a chronic illness, many women with kidney disorders find that their libido drops off a cliff. Side effects of medication, uremia (urea, a waste product, in the blood), and lower hormone levels often lead not only to decreased desire and menstrual irregularities, but vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Decreased desire and anxiety over the illness often compound to bring on issues with self-esteem and self-image, often leading to depressive episodes.

For women who are trying to conceive, CKD can interfere, particularly as kidney function falls below 20%. More waste is retained in the blood, causing anemia, decreased or halted egg production, and menstrual irregularities or the cessation of menstruation altogether. Injections of EPO, a hormone that stimulates red blood cell production, have been found to help, but only in about 50 percent of patients.

For as upsetting and frustrating as these issues are, an even more serious issue lurks. Your kidneys are responsible for regulating your blood pressure, filtering wastes from your bloodstream. When your kidneys are not functioning properly, this leads to hypertension, which in turn can lead to painful migraines, stroke, and heart disease – the number one killer of women in the United States.

We don't really think much about our kidneys usually, except to sometimes joke about their output. Keep yourself healthy and happy, pay attention to your kidneys to prevent cascading effects later. We want you to be at your very best!

For more information, visit the National Kidney Foundation website.

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One Response to “National Kidney Month (No, Not the Beans)”

  1. This is a great opportunity to remind people that the adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for hormone production. (One of several causes of unwanted hair.) Electrologists often provide consumers with the first clue to "other" health issues such as those listed in this blog.

    Thank you for providing this information!

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