I at least know five people in my life who had trouble with their kidneys; these excluding hundreds of my patient encounters back when I was in the hospital. Whether it is a simple upper or lower urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stone or chronic kidney failure, there is a common denominator that would signal the problem, which is a simple urine test (urinalysis). This is exactly the reason why it is made part of a simple annual exam to a more complicated executive check up. Now, this article is not meant to diagnose your illness, but to simply give you something to consider and the actions you can take.
Here is a checklist of the symptoms you might be experiencing now, which is telling you, it is time to have your most dreaded visit to your doctor:
Are you experiencing any of the following?
- painful urination
- burning sensation on urination
- urinary frequency
- urinary urgency
- pain or spasm in the area of your bladder
- frequent waking up at night to urinate
- pressure on the lower abdomen when bladder fills up
- pain radiating to the groin or back
- incomplete emptying of the bladder or inability to urinate
- involuntary urination
- presence of blood in the urine
- cloudy, foul odor urine
- stones or sand like in urine
- flank pain (refers to a feeling of discomfort or pain from the sides below the rib cage that extends to the back)
- fever and chills
- in some cases nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea
- purulent urethral discharge
- Red Blood Cells (RBC) in the urine even without an infection
These are only some of the symptoms you might be experiencing, but have been ignoring for a long time. My advice for you is to visit your healthcare provider for a thorough medical examination. You should know that a simple UTI is easy to treat with the use of specific antibiotics – with the right dosage and frequency, you are good to go. Or better yet, a change in lifestyle like full hydration, healthy eating choices, regular exercise, enough rest and sleep, take potent nutritional supplements and most importantly – get married and have an exclusive sexual partner.
If, however, you are already in an advanced urinary or kidney problem, which I hope is not the case, you may already have the following symptoms:
- persistent UTIs of not less than three times a year
- frequent and consistent Red Blood Cells found in the urine even without an infection
- presence of protein in the urine
- pain that can be dull to a sharp stabbing pain from the flank area that may radiate to the groin
- increase in blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine
If you have any of these symptoms, do not delay your visit to your healthcare provider as it may save your kidneys. It is the same health advice I give to a relative who has had more than three urine examinations that shows a consistent RBC, a friend who had a history of 20 years of stressful work with no time to go to the bathroom or to drink enough water during her working hours. Sadly, she now has eye, liver and kidney complications, which could have been avoided (except if it is something genetic) had she modified her lifestyle early on.
Now, it is up to you to decide whether you are taking your health in your hands or simply wait for the symptoms to worsen until you seek professional help.
Resource: Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th Edition
Love Your Kidneys: https://www.flickr.com/photos/50192211@N07/5609998909/in/album-72157626086513845/