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Date of last update: 10/09/2017.

Forum Name: Renal Failure

Question: Many symptoms of renal failure and past kidney problems

 kidneyconcerned - Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:00 am

I am a 20 year old female and I have had kidney infections since I was 7 years old. I have had an ongoing kidney infection that has not gone away for more than a week in the past 4 years. Antibiotics have stopped working with my body now. When I went into the hospital back in November with a severe kidney infection the doctor told me that he had never seen a kidney infection as bad as the one I had. He also said that with the rate my infections were going, 1 more kidney infection could cause my kidneys to fail. I have yet to see a Urologist about why this is happening. For the past month and a half I have had an infection and when I went into the ER they gave me antibiotics that I was allergic to. The next time I went in they didn't even do a urine test. So I was not perscribed any antibiotics. For the past 3 days I have been feeling lousy. I noticed that my eyes were turning yellow (I know that that is a sign of jaundice but was wondering if it could have to do with my kidneys.) and many other symptoms of renal failure which include: Excessive urine at night, ankle feet and leg swelling, generalized swelling, decreased sensation in the feet, decreased appetite, agitation, drowsiness, lethargy, delirium or confusion, mood changes, trouble paying attention, slow sluggish movements, lower back pain, nausea, prolonged bleeding, bloody stools, Flank pain, fatigue, unintentional weight loss (5 pounds in a week), headache, easy bleeding, decreased alertness, muscle twitching and cramps, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, itchy skin, shortness of breath, a sensation of pins and needles in feet, hand tremor, ear buzzing, insomnia, and low sex drive. These are about 75% or the symptoms I have found online! What my question is, if my kidneys are failing is there any sure way I can tell for sure and how long can I wait until I have to be treated. How long does it take before it gets fatal. The reason I ask how long is that it is nearly impossible to see my doctor and the nearest appointment he has available is in 3 weeks. I was wondering if I needed to go to the ER or if waiting 3 weeks would be OK. And if there could be anything besides renal failure causing my symptoms?!
My family has no past kindey problems, just cancer problems. The only medication I am on now is Ortho Tri Cyclin Lo and I have not had any surgeries in the past.

 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu May 17, 2007 12:51 pm

User avatar First, I apologize for not answering your question sooner.

Regarding your symptoms, there are other possibilities besides your kidneys that could be doing this. In particular, if the liver is having trouble it can do much of the things you are experiencing.

I would recommend that you be seen soon. I don't think you need to rush to the emergency department now, but I would try to be seen in the next 3-4 days if possible.

You should have a general work up for your symptoms including liver testing, electrolytes, a urinalysis/urine culture, and blood glucose testing.

Given your many UTI's and kidney infections you should have some imaging of your urinary tract including a renal ultrasound and voiding cystourethrogram to look for urinary reflux back up the ureters (which can predispose to severe/frequent UTI's). You may also need some nuclear medicine scans to look for renal scarring/function.

If everything else looks ok and it does seem to be an issue with your kidneys you should see a urologist and, more importantly, a nephrologist.

Best wishes. Keep us updated if you can.

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