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Headaches, upset stomach, fatigue after extreme pain near kidney. MRI, ultrasound and urine tests did not identify problem

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yes please - my daughter aged 29 has a long standing problem which various tests have failed to identify. Occasionally urine samples shows signs of infection, blood and white blood cells but when sent to the laboratory for culturing, come back negative. Blood tests are similar - not identifying a problem apart from inflammation. She also suffers from back pain and attends pain management for this. A few years ago she was treated from recurrent urnine infection with low dose long term antibiotics but once urine checks showed clear at this point, she was discharged from urology. She enters a period when she feels pain around her kidney area - this was previously on her left side but now also on the right. This pain seems to build up until it reaches a point of extreme pain (she has described the feeling as something dying inside) - afterwards the pain subsides in her kidney area and she feels generally unwell - headaches, upset stomach, fatigue. 3 weeks ago she collapsed and appeared to scream in pain just before hand according to witnesses. Her GP is unhelpful and yesterday told her she looked healthy and asked if she was depressed. We are in Scotland and now looking to seek a private urologist as the National Health Service does not seem able to identify / help but in the meantime would welcome any comments in terms of what it is that can be wrong. It has been a few years now since she had ultra sound and MRI scan - which at that time failed to identify any problem in her kidney are. Many thanks
Posted Thu, 3 May 2012 in Urinary and Bladder Problems
Answered by Dr. Rajiv goel 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query.

From your description it appears that your daughter had acute pyelonephritis (kidney infection) few years back. A patient with history of pyelonephritis has the tendency for recurrence of symptoms.

Your daughter certainly needs to be subjected to antibiotics post culture and sensitivity has been done on her. She also needs to be investigated with ultrasound scan. In the meantime, you can start your daughter on cranberry juice; this shall give her partial relief of symptoms.

I hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you have no follow up questions.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Headaches, upset stomach, fatigue after extreme pain near kidney. MRI, ultrasound and urine tests did not identify problem 1 hour later
I think my daughter is not being diagnosed correctly with her GP because of the laboratory results, which come back showing no signs of infection. This is contrary to what has been found when the urine sample is tested in the surgery. When we query this with her doctor, he stated the urine 'shows signs of infection' but did not think she should be given her antibiotics. How does she 'prove' the need for treatment to her doctor? Is a 'sign' of infection different from a proven infection (supported by lab results) which is deemed to require treatment?

Could infection alone cause the such severe pain she suffers from - I have suspected that there is something else at the root of the problem, for example cysts or abcesses. I will just also mention that XXXXXXX has never displayed the looked for signs of UTIs, such as pain passing urine.

After the longterm antibiotics given by Urology previously, she mentioned her continuing pain in her kidney area and was advised that she perhaps just has 'painful' kidneys and couldn't treated- do you know what this is?

I am also concerned that an ultrasound will not show the root problem if there is one or would you be confident, if there was something present like a cyst, this would show?

thanks - she will start on the cranberry again today.

she is being made to feel like a hypochondriac by her doctor but I can see her pain is real and having a real impact on her life
Answered by Dr. Rajiv goel 5 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

I can fully understand your anxiety and despair.

A lot of times patient may experience renal pain without noticeable infection in the urine and still needs to be treated with antibiotics.

UTI may have myriad presentations and just flank pain without any other symptoms can be presentation.

Ultrasound shall pick up major abnormalities in the kidney. However, if no cause is elicited then she may have to be subjected to CT urogram.

There is no such entity as painful kidneys but a large number of patients may have to be on suppressive antibiotics for very long period, may be even years.

Hope, this answers your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Wish your daughter a speedy recovery.

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