Are There Kidney Health Concerns Specific to Men?

Women are more likely than men to get kidney disease but men are more likely to progress to kidney failure. While it is unclear why this illness affects men and women differently, we do know certain risk factors specific to men. 

MEN LIVING WITH CKD

CKD symptoms
There are no symptoms of kidney disease that are specific to men. While the need to urinate more often can be a sign of kidney disease in both men and women, it can also be a symptom of an enlarged prostate in men. 

Sexuality
There are many things that can affect your sexuality if you have kidney disease or kidney failure but you can still have a healthy marriage and a meaningful relationship. Some men with kidney disease may find it more difficult to have or keep an erection. This can be a result of medication side effects, a buildup of toxic wastes in the blood that may not be fully removed by dialysis, or other things unrelated to kidney health. Many of these problems can be treated. Don't be afraid to ask questions or get help from a healthcare professional.

Men with kidney disease, on dialysis, or with a kidney transplant can successfully father children.

RISK FACTORS FOR CKD

Race 
African Americans have a higher risk of developing kidney disease. African American men diagnosed with CKD are also less likely to keep their blood pressure under control, putting them at risk of life-threatening complications.

Low birth-weight
Men who were tiny babies are significantly more likely to develop potentially life-threatening kidney disease, according to studies published by the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP).

Testosterone levels
Research shows that low testosterone levels have been linked with increased risk of death in men who have stages 3 and 4 CKD. If you’re male and living with kidney disease or you don’t know your level of kidney function, this is one more reason to get your kidneys and testosterone levels tested. In this study, men with a high body mass index (BMI) and diabetes were more likely to have low testosterone levels.

OTHER KIDNEY DISEASES

Kidney stones
Anyone can get a kidney stone, but men are more likely to get kidney stones than women. In men, the first episode is most likely to occur after age 30, but it can occur earlier. Other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity may increase the risk for kidney stones.

Kidney cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, men are at a significantly higher risk than women to develop kidney cancer. Although many risk factors can increase the chance of developing kidney cancer, it is not clear how some of these risk factors cause kidney cells to become cancerous.