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Frequent kidney infections

  • By ProgressiveMSfemale

    For the past 2 years or so, I have been battling kidney infections that just don’t seem to clear up completely. I am so tired of being sick and going back and forth to the doctor’s office to have my urine tested, which frequently shows up negative, until it is sent off for culture. I feel like my urologist should admit me to the hospital, in order to treat me with IV antibiotics to get rid the bacteria that is causing this, once and for all! It’s the Same Song & Dance every single time. It starts out with a little bit of pain in my pelvic area, my stomach and my left kidney. Then, I wake up two to three times during the night and early morning go to the bathroom. Then, I get nausea, fever and chills. Once I start having weakness, I know I’m in trouble. I even have loose bowels and a funny taste in my mouth. Doctors expect you to come into their office to be seen, which is extremely difficult, given the circumstances of how badly you feel, along with the worsening fatigue from being ill with an infection. If I go to the hospital, the only thing that they’ll do is give me low-grade antibiotics and send me home, because they usually won’t find the infection but just the basic urine test. The urine test that they use nowadays, are just not sensitive enough to pick up signs of the infection. Most of the doctors are not trained to look at it under the microscope and see signs of the infection. This was something they used to be trained to do in medical school, but they don’t do it anymore. If I thought that my doctor would admit me for IV antibiotics, I would go in a heartbeat, haha! I can actually be suffering for several weeks and become pretty sick before I go and see any doctor and it’s still manages not to show up on basic urine tests. Once the culture results come back, they put me on stronger oral antibiotics, but by then, I will have suffered 3 to 5 more days. I’ve read many stories of other Ms sufferers that have gone through the same thing. Why should it be so hard for us to be treated for an infection that could become life threatening? Nowadays, they don’t want to prescribe you antibiotics that you could become immune to, so as not to create a superbug. I feel like somebody with my history should be treated more aggressively, otherwise it’s a real serious gamble with someone’s life. If anyone has any suggestions on how I should handle this in the future, I’m completely open to hear them all!

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  • By Kim Dolce Moderator

    Hey, ProgressiveMSfemale, I’m so sorry you’ve suffered with pain for so long before the antibiotics get going. You’re right to ask about being put on a fast track to strong antibiotics very quickly given your chronic history of kidney infection. Have you discussed your history and concerns with the urologist? At the very least, they’ll explain to you why they proceed the way they do–and perhaps you can both come to an understanding about what can happen with your care the next time your infection symptoms appear.

    If they don’t respond in a way that satisfies you, perhaps shopping around for another urologist might be in order at some point. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, I’m sure others are experiencing the same things. –Kim, multiplesclerosis.net Team Member

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  • By Donna Steigleder Moderator

    ProgressiveMfemale, my husband has secondary progressive MS and must be intermittently cathed. I have been doing this for him since 2010 when he lost function in his arms to do it himself. He has only had one infection since that time so I think what I am doing is working. Here’s my routine: I know “they” say you don’t need sterile technique but I use it. I use a new sterile catheter, gloves, and lubricant each time. I clean the site with chlorhexidine (I don’t use betadine because I think it’s too harsh but that’s me. I collect the urine in a urinal that I reuse for a week at a time. At the end of each week, I soak it in 10% bleach to kill bacteria. Lynn drinks cranberry juice, EVERY day. According to his urologist, cranberry juice prohibits bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall unless overwhelmed by bacteria.

    I hope this helps you. I’m sure you have a similar process but this has worked for us. Getting sterile supplies is very costly but it helps reduces infection risk. If you can’t use sterile everything, at least use sterile catheters. Many times we can ward off an infection also by increasing cranberry juice and adding more water to flush out the kidney and testing his urine to see how it’s doing ourselves. We keep our own test kits at home. I order those over Amazon. Take care. Donna Steigleder

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