Kidney disease or progressive renal failure can be seen in women above 50 years of age; African Americans ladies; and women suffering from type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension or pin worm infestation of kidney, vasculitis, polycystic kidney disease and hemolytic-uremic syndrome.
Kidney Disease in Women Is it Reversible ?
Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Women
Increase or decrease in the frequency of urination; blood in urine; increase in urgency to urinate at night; foamy urine and pain or difficulty in urinating and completely relieving the pressure.
Edema of face, hands or legs.
Fatigue due to altered production of RBC synthesizing hormone erythropoietin.
Epidermal rashes or itching due to deposition of waste material in blood.
Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting and a metallic taste in the mouth due to uremia.
Hypertension, hyperphosphatemia and hypocalcemia.
Sexual dysfunction and rapid atherosclerosis is seen.
Pain in bones or fractures.
Pain in the chest due to inflammation around the heart.
Accumulation of fluid in the lungs causing shortness of breath.
Numbness in feet or hand, insomnia and restless leg syndrome.
Apart from these symptoms women with kidney disease also have to face specific problems related to their periods, sexuality, pregnancy and menopause.
Menstrual problems: These women tend to have irregular periods which may completely stop when dialysis begins. The chances of conceiving are also reduced as the waste accumulation is high due to loss of functional capacities of kidneys. This hampers production of ovum and subsequent menstruation. Treatment involving replacement of the hormone erythropoietin helps to improve the condition.
Vaginal problems and sexual drive: Lower hormone levels in women with kidney disease result in vaginal dryness and subsequent pain while intercourse. Uremia resulting from kidney disease and side effects of medicines result in lowering sexual drive further. Use of vaginal lubricant can be beneficial.
Issues related to pregnancy: Although becoming pregnant during dialysis is difficult but it has been seen that 50% of infants born to such mothers survive where as many are born premature with health problems.
Problems related to menopause: As hormone production goes down these women are at increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Additional calcium in diet or calcium supplements needs to be taken by them.
Treatment of kidney disease in women is done through medications to control diabetes, high cholesterol levels and hypertension. Replacement of the hormones erythropoietin and calcitriol as well as phosphate binders is done. In the last stage where kidney failure takes place treatment involves dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Dietary modifications which bring about substantial relief and slow down progression of kidney disease in women include:
You need to avoid protein rich foods as they produce uric acid which the kidneys have to excrete. This unnecessary creates problems for the already affected kidneys. This includes, chicken, red meat, pork, beef and animal organs. Fish can be taken in small amounts.
Highly salted and processed foods need to be avoided as they are rich in sodium.
Avoid high-potassium foods like oranges, bananas, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes.
Vegetables like garlic, rutabagas, winter squash, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, celery, peppers and onion should be part of your diet. Similarly fruits like blueberries, red grapes, strawberries, cherries, raspberries and apples are also good.
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