Sex and gender differences are of fundamental importance in most diseases, including chronic kidney disease (CKD). Men and women with CKD differ with regard to the underlying pathophysiology of the disease and its complications, present different symptoms and signs, respond differently to therapy and tolerate/cope with the disease differently. Yet an approach using gender in the prevention and treatment of CKD, implementation of clinical practice guidelines and in research has been largely neglected. The present review highlights some sex- and gender-specific evidence in the field of CKD, starting with a critical appraisal of the lack of inclusion of women in randomized clinical trials in nephrology, and thereafter revisits sex/gender differences in kidney pathophysiology, kidney disease progression, outcomes and management of haemodialysis care. In each case we critically consider whether apparent discrepancies are likely to be explained by biological or psycho-socioeconomic factors. In some cases (a few), these findings have resulted in the discovery of disease pathways and/or therapeutic opportunities for improvement. In most cases, they have been reported as merely anecdotal findings. The aim of the present review is to expose some of the stimulating hypotheses arising from these observations as a preamble for stricter approaches using gender for the prevention and treatment of CKD and its complications.

You do not currently have access to this content.