Clinical correlates and treatment of bone/joint pain and difficulty with sexual arousal in patients on maintenance hemodialysis

Hemodial Int. 2008 Apr;12(2):268-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1542-4758.2008.00264.x.


Bone/joint pain and difficulty with sexual arousal are prevalent, frequently severe, and potentially treatable in patients on maintenance hemodialysis. However, the mediators and adequacy of treatment for these symptoms have been less well studied. We sought to assess the clinical correlates and treatment of these symptoms in patients receiving chronic hemodialysis. Using the Dialysis Symptom Index, we assessed the presence and severity of bone/joint pain and difficulty with sexual arousal in 75 patients on chronic hemodialysis. Associations of demographic and clinical variables with these 2 symptoms were assessed. We also recorded the use of analgesics for bone/joint pain and, among men, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors for difficulty with sexual arousal. Twenty-eight patients (37%) reported bone/joint pain, of whom 20 (71%) described it as moderate to severe. Nineteen of 50 male patients (38%) reported difficulty with sexual arousal, which was described as moderate to severe by 15 (79%). Patients' demographic and clinical characteristics were not correlated with bone/joint pain. Among men, there were no correlations between patients' demographic and clinical characteristics and difficulty with sexual arousal. Only 48% of patients with bone/joint pain were receiving analgesics, while 21% of men who described difficulty with sexual arousal were receiving phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. Demographic, clinical, and dialysis-related variables are poorly correlated with bone/joint pain and difficulty with sexual arousal. However, these symptoms are prevalent and under-treated, which should spur efforts to assess the impact of improving provider assessment and treatment of these symptoms on patient outcomes, including health-related quality of life.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Arthralgia / drug therapy*
  • Arthralgia / etiology*
  • Bone and Bones
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / therapy*


  • Analgesics
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors