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Living Kidney Donation

After donating your kidney

Kidney donation is a commitment to a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life. If you have any medical concerns, seek medical advice such as calling Health Link at 811, or talk to your healthcare provider.

Are there any medicines I can’t take after kidney donation?

Yes, there are some medicines that are cleared from your body through your kidneys that you’ll need to know about. Be sure your prescribers know that you are a kidney donor. This allows them to choose medicines and doses that are safe for your level of kidney function.

Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) routinely for pain is not recommended if you have only 1 kidney. Examples of NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for other kidney-safe pain relief options.

If you’d like to take herbal remedies or supplements, check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure they’re safe for you.

How often do I need to see a doctor after donating a kidney?

Follow-up care is important for your health and well-being. Arrange to see your family doctor or healthcare provider at least once each year. They’ll do a routine checkup and make sure your remaining kidney function is stable. Your family doctor will also watch for your risks of high blood pressure and diabetes as these can lead to kidney failure. Expect your family doctor to arrange for blood pressure and weight measurements, as well as blood and urine tests each year.

A nephrologist (kidney doctor) may also be involved in your follow-up after donation if needed. This may be a different nephrologist than the one from the transplant team.

Ask your Living Donor Program coordinator who will be responsible for making your follow-up appointments after donation.

Are there activities I should avoid?

Keeping active is an important part of health and wellness. You’ll get instructions about when you can go back to your usual activities.

It's important to protect your kidney from damage. Your doctor may advise you to avoid contact sports or strenuous activity after your donation surgery. Talk with your doctor about what activities are right for you.

Do I need to make any changes to my diet?

You may go back to your regular diet after surgery unless you get other instructions from your doctor. It’s recommended that you follow Canada’s food guide for healthy eating to maintain your best health and weight.

Can I drink alcohol or use cannabis products?

Alcohol and cannabis are cleared from your body mostly through your liver. However, there are still some risks with using these after kidney donation. Both alcohol and cannabis can interact with medicines you may be taking.

Before deciding to use alcohol or cannabis, talk with your healthcare provider to make sure that it’s safe for you.

What happens if I develop kidney disease?

During your donor assessment many tests were done to make sure that your kidneys were healthy. Even so, sometimes people can develop problems later. If this happens, your healthcare team will work with you to keep your kidney working as well as possible.

If your family doctor or healthcare provider has concerns about your kidney function, they can refer you to the kidney specialist (nephrologist) you had during the donor process or the kidney care team in your area.

Your family doctor or healthcare provider can also contact the Living Donor Program if they have questions about your kidney care.

Can I send a letter to my recipient if I’m an anonymous kidney donor?

Yes, anonymous donors may send a message, letter, or card to their recipient through the Living Donor Program office. Messages must not include any identifying information. To protect your privacy, they’ll be reviewed before being sent to the recipient. ​​

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