Body image issues and insecurities are common concerns among most people in the world. The famous actor, Jonah Hill, spoke about his long-time struggle with his body image after losing and gaining weight for years. However, body issues are only exacerbated when it comes to Chronic Kidney Disease patients especially those on Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis. The following tips can help:
Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease, especially those with Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis, often struggle with energy levels which limit or eliminate the ability to exercise regularly. This typically results in unwanted weight gain. Moreover, many dietary restrictions prevent patients from eating healthier food options, again resulting in further weight gain and not feeling the best. Depression and demoralization can creep in as a result of low Anemia, stress, and anxiety which may lead patients to think less of themselves.
Recommended Reading: Safely Swimming For Hemodialysis And Peritoneal Dialysis Patients
As you know, for a Peritoneal Dialysis patient, a catheter is necessary for performing treatment and placed in the abdomen. The part of the catheter tubing that exits a patients body is usually 5-6 inches long and should be held in place with a ‘PD Belt’ or by other means to avoid trauma to the exit site. In general, the Peritoneal Catheter should not interfere with most forms of exercise or sexual activity. Yet, many patients have mentioned feeling self-conscious about the stomach tube. Similarly, Hemodialysis patients can grow insecure or concerned about how their Dialysis Arm looks as it is used and over time it becomes more visible with scars, large veins or bulges. Skin color changes (yellow or grey hue), bumps and itch as well as hair loss are also common body image challenges. Try the following tips:
1, See Your Scars, Catheters, and Bulges as battle wounds rather than undesirable marks or signs of inferiority. Ultimately, your choice to fight to remain alive as a Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient means a lot more than any of the wounds that are more obvious. It takes a lot of courage for you to continue to conduct Dialysis and fight for your life which has great value.
2. Sometimes a patients skin color may become darker, grayer or have a yellowish look for a short period of time, and then change back with more regular Dialysis. For more permanent skin color changes, make-up products can correct skin tone if you need a quick solution. This is not just an option for women. Foremen Makeup noted that their Brightening Color Corrector Cream is "Oil-free and lightweight, this color-correcting cream for men has microencapsulated pigments that adapt to your individual skin tone."
3. Itchy, dry skin may be limited by avoiding the use of products that are high in alcohol or heavily scented. Try a moisturizing soap for sensitive skin instead. Moisturizing creams that are high in water content are typically a better choice than regular body lotions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which dry skin treatments they recommend.
4. If you are beginning to lose your hair, then consider visiting with a hair stylist or professional barber who can recommend styling tips that make thinning hair less noticeable. A fresh hairstyle may help you feel more confident with your appearance.
5. Rewire your brain. Information and thoughts move through Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients' brains via neural pathways. The more thoughts follow a specific pathway, the stronger that pathway becomes. If you are thinking “I’m fat, I’m ugly” every day, those pathways become really strong. Still, you can create new pathways with messages of self-love and kindness instead of self rejection. One way to interrupt your negative thinking is to say “that’s not true” or by saying what you wish to be true instead.
6. Re-evaluate self-worth. Our minds are filled with the thoughts, beliefs, and values of all the people who influence our lives. Having a strong sense of 'Self' comes from tuning out the voices of everyone else and listening to your own information, intuition, needs, and desires. You are an upstanding, strong person with much to still give. Although you are going through a challenging time, you are still important and have a very high value to the world and those around you. It’s about doing what feels authentic to you and letting go of the need to get everyone else’s approval. The only person you have to impress is yourself.
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