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Periods in women with kidney failure and after transplantation

Menstrual periods and fertility

It is common for the menstrual periods to become irregular when women develop kidney failure. If a woman has kidney function less than 20% of normal (blood creatinine level roughly over 250 micromoles per litre in a young woman), she will probably be less likely to become pregnant than normal, even if she is having regular sex. However, contraception should still be used, as pregnancy is possible.

In dialysis patients, periods often stop completely or are irregular. This means that women on dialysis are very unlikely to become pregnant. However, again, women should not rely on this as a form of contraception. It is still possible to get pregnant even if the periods are absent.

Treatment with erythropoeitin (EPO) has been shown to restore menstrual periods in about 50% of women on dialysis. This is thought to be due to two effects of EPO, improving disturbed hormone levels, and treating anaemia. Treatment with EPO increases a woman's chance of becoming pregnant, so contraception should always be used to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Click here for more details of EPO

Another form of treatment is hormone replacement therapy (click next link to view).

5. Should women with kidney disease have hormone replacement treatment?

The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 205: Periods in women with kidney failure and after transplantation written: 08/08/2004 last reviewed: 13/03/2019