One thing I don’t want to have happen is inadvertently do something to ruin my good bean, once I only have one.  This blog addresses how not to do that.  I really couldn’t find a lot online about this topic, but the common theme is moderation.  Basically, things that are bad for your kidneys pre-donation, are also bad post-donation.

I also know that my kidney function now is as good as it gets (based on pee and blood tests).  Within five weeks of donation, the remaining kidney swells in size and increases its filtering power (the “glomerular filtration rate”) to almost match the power of two kidneys. In short, I’ll have a single super-kidney instead of two simply adequate kidneys.  Once I have one kidney, the nephrologist indicated my kidney function should still be in the top 10-20% of the population even with 50% loss of my nephrons.  It will go from great to pretty great/good.


It’s a myth that you can’t have a baby after you have donated a kidney.  The nephrologists suggest you wait 1-year post donation before getting pregnant. You can have sex right away after your donation as long as you “take it easy” and don’t cause a hernia.  We plan in partaking in sex, but not procreation.  If we do decide to have kids, my age will be a bigger concern than my kidney status.  You can call me “old egg unibean.”

Some drugs, but not all are, synthesized in the kidney.  Most are synthesized in the liver.  It will be important not to become a drug addict after the donation, and to be mindful of frequent use of anything that could weaken my kidney.  This is true for anyone, the only difference is that most other people have a back up, and I won’t.


Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)  such as Ibuprofen can be hard on the kidneys, especially if it is taken regularly, in high doses, or while drinking alcohol. Decreased kidney function due to ibuprofen is more likely in patients who have existing kidney problems (having 1 kidney isn’t considered a problem). Long-term use of ibuprofen can cause adverse effects such as decreased clearance of creatinine by the kidney. Creatinine is a chemical waste compound that is produced during normal skeletal muscle contractions, and is normally filtered through the kidneys and excreted in the urine. As many as 1 to 3 percent of new cases of chronic kidney failure each year may be caused by pain medication overuse. The solution is to switch to Tylenol.  Again, this really applies to everyone, not just people with 1 kidney.


Several forms of renal disease have been associated with this regular cocaine use.   Cocaine abuse has been associated with acute renal failure and acid-base and/or electrolyte disorders. It would be bad to create a cocaine habit post-donation.


You must stop smoking cigarettes to be a donor, even if you are a light smoker. Smokers have an increased risk of cardiovascular and pulmonary complications with any surgery.  Smoking cigarettes also causes high blood pressure which puts stress on your kidneys.


A friendly relationship with Mary Jane does not disqualify you from being a kidney donor.  If you wake n bake, it would likely be a problem in your psych evaluation.

It is OK to eat or smoke pot after a kidney donation and it should not have any negative impacts on your kidney.  It potentially is a safer form of natural pain relief for things like headaches, so you don’t ingest the damaging Ibuprofen.


There are a million reasons to STOP drinking alcohol, but a kidney donation is not one of them. The liver takes the beating from your boozing, not the kidney.  Boozing is not good for your body whether you have 1 kidney or 2.

The experts say that three drinks in a day (or more than seven per week) for women, and more than four drinks in a day (or more than 14 per week) for men, is considered “heavy” drinking. Heavy drinking is not good for most people.  The kidney(s) of heavy drinkers have to work harder. Heavy drinking on a regular basis has been found to double the risk for kidney disease.  Kidney disease for someone with 1 kidney could possibly be a bigger concern than kidney disease for a person with 2 kidneys, but not necessarily.

This website highlights the risks of having one kidney vs 2, however, the goal will be to stay in good physical shape, and to practice moderation.  Good advice for all of us.

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