Icing on the Cake: Hi, I'm a 51 year old male... - Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease
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Icing on the Cake


Hi, I'm a 51 year old male from Florida and have had one of the worst experiences of my life over the past 2-3 weeks starting with Gallbladder issues, moving on to prostate issues (prostatitus) and just this week (the icing on the cake) was diagnosed with Renal Insufficiency by a local ER. Been testing my glucose levels and they have been higher than normal (but of course I'm stressed too). Been on Bactrim antibiotic for a couple of weeks which I heard could raise creatinine levels. Received antibiotics by IV and NSAID shots for pain over past week. I think it's just been too much. Talked to my primary today and he told me there are too many people and places with their hands in this and none of them know the big picture. I have anxiety and seem to bounce around quite a bit when I feel I'm not getting answers or relief. Not proud of this but in past 2 weeks, made 11 visits to different doctors and hospitals. They want to put me on Lexapro and though I'm not a fan of anxiety meds, I think I need to do it at least for now. I just don't want the Lexapro to further hurt my kidneys. I even stopped taking my acid reflux meds - Pantoprazole to not put strain on my kidneys. I'm trying to diet right, cutting out all the junk food, etc. I guess I came on here to just vent and share my story from the past couple of weeks. I believe in God and I believe in prayer and that's why I'm hopeful He will bring me through this like He's brought me through so many other times. I'm a little scared but my doctor has a bunch of tests lined up and I'm hoping for a good outcome. Thanks everyone for listening.

30 Replies

The sooner you can get off the Bactrim and the NSAIDs, the better as far as your kidney function is concerned. The trimethoprim component of the Bactrim will reduce kidney function quite dramatically, albeit that the function can return to whatever is your personal ‘normal’ within a couple of weeks of stopping it. The NSAIDs are anathema to kidney function and the damage they cause is permanent. Hopefully, off the drugs and at retest you will have better news - good luck!

romeo18302 in reply to Celtic

Thanks for saying that. I didn't realize how much trimethoprim affected kidney function. I'm hoping this is the case for me. I heard NSAIDS are really bad and I wished I turned them down when offered to me over the past week.

Mr_Kidney in reply to romeo18302

You might want to download the app for drugs.com and then when you are offered a new medication enter it into your free account. You can find out if there are any interactions between the new med and any others you are taking, foods, and the severity of any possible interactions. Just enter all of your medications into your account and you can also sign up for free updates on drug recalls, new meds coming out and other news about health issues.

romeo18302 in reply to Mr_Kidney

Thats a good idea. thank you. I usually look up meds on the internet but having an app like that is one stop shopping.

Celtic in reply to romeo18302

In the words of my renal consultant. “If you have to take Trimethoprim, then take it, but don’t let anyone take your blosd tests at the same time or within a couple of weeks of taking it - it can reduce your kidney function, but it mostly always returns to ‘normal’ again.” This was following a hospital appointment for a pre-op check when the nurse mentioned my kidney function test showed an eGFR if 28 which was 10 points lower than my previous stable 38. They sought immediate advice from my renal consultant who stated as above. I’ve had Trimethoprim since but always request a blood test a couple of weeks later for reassurance.

With regard to my experience with the NSAID, Ibuprofen, it was a long term dose some 14 years ago due to a very disabling and painful condition that remained undiagnosed by inefficient doctors for very many months. A phone call from a GP at the surgery about a year later informed me that I had chronic kidney disease - not the news I wanted to hear especially as a sole kidney owner! I would never take a NSAID again.

I just thought to clarify the reasons behind my original reply to you,

romeo18302 in reply to Celtic

I never used NSAIDs too much because I have GERD so my choice was always Tylenol or sometimes Curcumin supplements (ingredient in Turmeric). Every once in a while when I would take an NSAID out of desperation, my stomach would usually pay the price so I would get relief from my pain and get a new present - stomach discomfort for a few hours. I'm glad it was the Trimethoprim that was the culprit and nothing more serious. As long as things bounce back post-meds, I'm ok with that. Just get scared when you hear it might cause permanent damage as I've heard that can happen with drugs like Cipro if you're one of the unlucky ones who get a reaction.

You need to find one doctor you trust, a Nephrologist and stick with it. Your primary doctor should cover all other issues. First for your GERD, take Pepcid it is safe for kidneys, but ask your doctor first. Do the diet changes slowly so you are more apt to stick with it. Exercise, meditate or take nature walks to relieve stress and help with blood pressure control. Get a pet, they help a lot. A lot of antibiotics are bad for the kidneys. When you have any issue that you need medication for, ask the doctor to speak with your Nephrologist or at the very least pick a medication that is not filtered in the kidneys. Doxycycline is one such antibiotic. That goes for all your meds. If there is another choice that will work for your symptoms but not harm the kidneys ask to be prescribed those. Decrease your salt intake, and don't eat processed foods.

Thank you for that great info! We do have two cats already, sadly I've been distant with them lately because I haven't been feeling well. Heard that about Pepcid as well, good you confirmed it. I stopped everything currently because I was afraid of straining the kidneys but sometimes I find myself needing it. Is Tums ok too? They seem to promote their product for chronic kidney disease. Found a PDF from Canada...nshealth.ca/sites/nshealth....

Tums are high in Calcium Carbonate use them with caution is what I was told.

BTW I am sure your cats miss you. Take 15 min a day to spend with them and you all might be happier and more chill. I love my dogs. Keeping them healthy and happy helps me focus on other things besides my own worries.

I agree. They look at me with sad eyes like I've forgotten them and I truly haven't. I've just been so caught up in my medical nightmare which is where my primary focus has been. I need to change that and start focusing on my loved ones.

Yes, but don't forget to take care of yourself too. You can do both.

BassetmommerNKF Ambassador

HI Romeo,

You have a lot going on. Anxiety is a real B*tch. I know that in the past months, my levels were way off. I have been on the same diet for over two years and very stable. When all this Corona stuff happened, and some personal things happened, my body went into a state of freeze. I do this often. It is my response to trauma. Like others with PTSD, I react with my body "freezing" sort of like a rabbit does but I still function. Internally, I don't. Some people react with fight or flight. For me, my body reacted with putting on weight, and my blood sugar was up and my BP would easily spike. I was being very mindful of what I eat and was actually being MORE careful because I knew this was happening. I even stepped up my exercise. Nothing mattered because it was a reaction. As soon as things settled down again, the four pounds I gained just disappeared and my glucose and BP are back down to a normal level and has been for over two weeks.

My point is that anxiety really can take over. I agree that you need to unify your doctors. Find one who is in charge and can speak with the others. They are not working in concert for you. Check you meds to make sure they are good for you in total. Then try to find ways to relax. Take up activities that totally engulf you in happiness and comfort. Keep to a good diet for your needs. You might be surprised how the body will self-heal.

We are here for you to vent and to support.

Thanks for the encouragement! I can appreciate what you go through with the anxiety but my problem is I don't freeze, I jump. This has been the case all last night and today. My heart is beating rapidly and I can't seem to control it. No idea why. Been drinking water throughout day but haven't eaten much. Also have a headache. Definitely need to unify the doctors. My primary said that as well and is leading the pack right now. Hopefully I can get this under control. Almost took a Lorazapam last night but was afraid it would tax my kidneys so stayed up all night instead.

Hi romeo18302! I’m sorry to hear about all of the distress you’ve been enduring recently. You’ve certainly done the right thing cutting out the junk food. That’s always a step in the right direction. If you are diabetic and / or suffer from high blood pressure, then readjusting your diet will definitely improve your overall health.

With regard to your kidney function, it could be that your recent issues that have caused you to resort to taking antibiotics and NSAIDs (sometimes this can’t be helped), may be why your kidneys are showing signs of strain. Until you have further, and more confirming testing done by your medical team, there may not be any reason for you to panic or become anxious.

You should know though, that NSAIDs, prescribed, or even over-the-counter brands such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve and Aspirin, can be very rough on the kidneys. The best form of pain relief, especially for those of us with weakened kidney function, would be Tylenol, providing you have no liver issues or allergies to acetaminophen.

A few tips to follow in order to go easier on your kidneys in the meantime until your doctors are able to better determine where you stand with your kidney health, are:

1. Definitely stop using any NSAID medication for pain. Also, always discuss first with your doctor any prescribed meds such as antibiotics, diuretics, some hypertension drugs, anything containing steroids, and yes, even some sedative or depression medications as well. A popular website called drugs.com will be a helpful tool in informing yourself about any new drugs you may need to take, including any interactions with other meds you are on.

2. If your creatinine is high, what you’ll want to do is lower the amount of protein in your diet. This includes any red meats, chicken and poultry, pork, dairy (cheese, yogourt, etc.), processed meats, beans and legumes (kidney, navy, Romano beans, lentils, chick peas, etc.), any nuts and seeds, any whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, barley, quinoa, whole grain rice, etc., and also any protein bars and / or shakes. These are all high in protein and fortified with creatine which can be hard on the kidneys. Of course, you have to have a little protein in your diet (especially if you are diabetic) but, the rule generally is, a portion size no bigger than a deck of cards. (Hard to live by, trust me.)

3. Also, any heavy weight-lifting should be strongly limited or even omitted completely, as this type of exertion can release protein from your muscles into your bloodstream, thus raising creatinine levels as well. Exercising is important though in helping to lower your creatinine levels. A little walking (30 - 40 minutes once or twice daily) is good in keeping your heart rate up well which is also important.

4. Eating a high-fibre, low-potassium, low-phosphorus, and low-sodium diet will do well by you. If you’re unsure which fruits and vegetables are low in these, try searching online for some kidney-friendly food lists and recipes. There are plenty of sites that can offer info on this. I know that kidneyschool.org is one that I’ve heard of numerous times in this forum.

5. Also, a few other items and habits you may want to steer clear of are chocolate, dark sodas, alcoholic beverages, regular coffee (try decaf instead, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure), and smoking is also a no-no.

This is a lot to abide by, I know. It’s a lifestyle change really. You can allow yourself a break from time to time. And remember, before you go off and follow any of these changes to your diet and exercise regimen, consult with your physician first. Ask her / him if all of this is even necessary. If the testing on your blood has not yet been completed, you may not have to worry about any of this. What happened to you may just have been a result of too much strain all at one time, from the meds you were taking. Your kidneys may very well improve on their own.

Always discuss with your medical team first, any changes you’re wanting to make to your daily diet and exercise routines. I hope you will find this info helpful. And I do hope that your situation does improve very soon. Remember, we are always here for you whenever you find yourself requiring any support. Please keep us posted as to how you come along. God bless. Bye for now! 🙏😊👍✌️

Also forgot to mention to you Romeo, drinking a good amount of water daily is also helpful in flushing your system well. If you’re unsure of what a safe amount is for you, ask your physician, as this can differ with everyone. Drinking plenty of water everyday is also good in keeping your GFR up. Blessings. Bye for now! 😊👍✌️

Wow, thanks for such a detailed reply! I appreciate you taking the time to give me all those tips and advice. I realize now how bad NSAIDs can be for you. I'm currently worried I might have acute renal failure because my urine has diminished quite a bit today. Been drinking all day but not that much urine seems to be coming out.

Hi again romeo18302! Not sure if you are also suffering from high creatinine levels right now, but sometimes high creatinine can cause low urine output and swelling in the feet, ankles and even calves (trust me! Lol!) I’ve been doing my best to stick to a high-fibre, lower protein diet in order to help with that issue as well recently, but I’m also diabetic so I need to keep a close eye on the fruits and vegetables I consume (great fun, by the way! Lol!)

But in all seriousness, I often times, struggle with low urine output as well, so I do understand fully what you mean and it can be quite distressing. Try not to let this create too much anxiety for you though, because believe me, it does not help anything at all. It certainly never does for me. If you feel as though you’re retaining too much fluid, or if you begin to experience any difficulty breathing, speak to your doctor, or if it’s really severe, just go to your nearest emergency room. But remember too, sometimes, it’s our own anxieties regarding our health, that tend to get the best of us (been there, done that, got the T-shirt!)

I wish you all my best dear. Take good care of yourself and keep us posted on how things come along. God bless. 😊👍✌️🙏🙏

Celtic in reply to Sammi_n_Munk

“anything containing steroids”. Sammi, do you have any more info on why steroids are considered a problem to kidneys, please?

Sammi_n_Munk in reply to Celtic

Hello Celtic! Actually, I was told by specialists that many steroids, which often times act as accelerants, can be bad for many chronic and progressive disorders / diseases such as diabetes, gout, and CKD (I have all three, as well as high blood pressure and sleep apnea - Yayyy!! Lol! 😃)

But, I have diabetic retinopathy as well, which was also made a little worse with only five days of prednisone treatment when I was hospitalized a few years back. That treatment had also ramped up my blood sugar readings at the time as well.

I suppose some steroids may be helpful for some things, but it certainly didn’t do me any favours at all. And I’ve also heard of similar such experiences from others also, concerning steroid treatments. But, it’s important to speak to your doctor about any such treatments because it can be somewhat of a double-edged sword, so to speak. Hope I’ve answered your question, Celtic. Take care and stay well! God bless. 😊👍🙏✌️

Celtic in reply to Sammi_n_Munk

Many thanks for your fast reply, Sammi. I asked because I had to take the steroid, Prednisolone, for 5-6 years some years ago. Very high starting dose as well - no choice as my vision was at risk. I must have driven the rheumatologist mad with questioning him about my kidney blood test results at every appointment! He assured me from the outset that steroids were quite safe for my kidney.

Like you, I have also experienced gout quite recently and the same consultant decided to treat me with a steroid jab together with a very short course of low-dose Prednisolone. He decided against the usual gout meds, saying that he thought I was already on enough pills! No detrimental effect on my eGFR at all thank goodness. The main side effects with steroids are possible diabetes, bone thinning, glaucoma and cataracts. I avoided the first two and already had high eye pressures and small cataracts, also high blood pressure which is resistant to medication or st least those meds that my body can tolerate.

With steroids, it may well depend on the exact problem with the kidneys as to whether steroids could prove harmful. But certainly my experience with steroids did not have any untoward impact on my sole kidney function. In fact there are some cases where kidney patients rely on steroids to treat their particular kidney condition..

Sammi_n_Munk in reply to Celtic

Yes. I’ve heard that before as well. It can treat some specific kidney disorders. I’m glad that it didn’t have a really bad effect on you.

I actually was prescribed prednisolone eye drops after an eye surgery a few years back also (about five years ago). I don’t remember it doing anything truly bad, except that it turned me into a chocolate maniac for awhile! Lol! Yep. My doctors weren’t pleased with my blood sugar levels, that’s for sure. And it also caused some upper abdomen bloating (which wasn’t exactly fun either! Lol!) Oh well. The sacrifices we must make in pursuit of improving our health, huh? Sometimes, I guess our choices are limited.

Well, take good care of yourself Celtic, and stay well! All my best to you! Bye for now! 😃😊👍✌️

Celtic in reply to Sammi_n_Munk

Thank you, Sammi.. As for chocolate, the flavonoids in chocolate are anti inflammatory, especially in good quality dark chocolate! Well that’s my excuse!😉 Stay safe and well,

Sammi_n_Munk in reply to Celtic

Lol! 😂 Wow! You and I must be reading from the same book of excuses! I get the Lindt 70% dark chocolate! All in the name of good health, eh? Lol! 😊👍✌️

Hello again, romeo18302! I was a little curious about the Lexapro, so I went online to drugs.com, to conduct a little research. I’ve attached the link below in case you wanted to read it over. Let me know your thoughts. Take care, and God bless. Bye for now! 😊👍🙏✌️


Hi Sammi, thank you again. Yes, I am having higher creatitine levels currently. Didn't know that could affect urine output. Wow, that's good to know. I've been doing a lot of research online lately and made a list of the fruits and veggies I need to get, some I already bought - low potassium, low phos kind of stuff. I'm trying high fiber, low protein as well. I'm trying to figure out the best protein to eat and so far it seems to be green peas and garbanzo beans. Relieves me some to know others are going through similar things. Thank you for explaining things and for the additional tips.

So had a rough night last night, spent it in ER again. Embarrassing because I had my folks over at the time and had to leave because I was unable to urinate. I tried and nothing came out even after massaging everything down there for several minutes trying to stimulate anything...but zilch. That got me scared and I left for ER. They sucked more blood out of me (been several times this week from different places), said I didn't need a catheter because bladder wasn't very full (I had not been drinking much). My creatitine was at 1.2, my GFR was >60 and they told me the original diagnosis from last week of "renal insufficiency" no longer applied and apparently had reversed it self somewhat. I was happy to hear that but I was hoping my creatitine would have been down more. It was 1.4 when they diagnosed me with "renal insufficiency", now down to 1.26 I'm a little relieved but still want it lower. Then in my anxious moments while at ER, I started tasting metal in my mouth. That reminded me of an article I read about renal failure and Uremia whereas you taste metal and almost like ammonia in mouth. That's something that can happen during end stage. Had me thinking but It wasn't that bad or strong of a taste so I chalked it up to acid reflux. They said my kidneys were producing urine (thank God) but prostate was blocking it. Now I'm on FlowMax starting today. I am still playing it careful by eating the right things, staying on a renal diet, and not taking any medications I don't really need. I had to take a Lorazepam this morning to combat my anxiety because since last night for some reason, my heart rate went crazy, it stayed in the 135-150 range and I couldn't get it to slow down. After some calming down and breathing control, I got it low enough to feel safe. Same this morning, woke up with a pounding chest, Used my oximeter and found my pulse was 130 and rising. Weird thing is I didn't wake up feeling anxious unless I was subconsciously. I drank water and then exercised breathing controls, slowed down my breathing, stimulated the vagus nerve and it seemed to bring it down, Lorazepam brought it down even more. Another exciting day in my adventuresome life.

Wow. You really did have quite an interesting evening, didn’t you? I’m sorry to hear that. But I am glad that some of your levels have improved! That’s awesome! Keep up the good work!

Have you ever tried some herbal teas to help with your anxieties? I know that chamomile tea has always helped me when I’ve had difficulty sleeping, as well as Melatonin. I know others in this community have also used herbal teas and Melatonin and have had good things to say about it.

I remember almost laughing about the Melatonin tablets (which you can purchase over the counter, by the way), because I thought that it wouldn’t even touch my insomnia, but it actually knocked me out. But I did notice that the next night, it was not as effective. Not sure why.

I used to take Lorazepam (Ativan) years ago until a very scary experience cured me. Lol! Hope you don’t mind if I share this with you, and I also hope it doesn’t change your opinion of me. Lol!

My family and I had just lost both of our parents within nine months of each other, and my doctor at the time, had given me the Ativan to help me through. They were only one milligram tablets (which is almost like saying nothing, or so I thought), and when I first began taking them, one tablet put me out like a light.

However, when I was feeling more tense, I found that I was requiring two tablets in order to achieve the same feeling of calm that I originally felt. I kept on this way until one morning, I had called my sister at work and told her that I had to get some things done, and I would call her back later that day.

When I called her back later in the day, she asked why I was calling, so I reminded her that I mentioned I would call her back in the afternoon, to which she informed me that that had happened the day before! And that was enough to scare me off of Lorazepam. Couldn’t believe I lost an entire day of my life and had absolutely no recollection of it at all.

I hope you’re not upset with me for sharing this with you, and I’m not trying to frighten you away from Lorazepam, especially if you truly need it, but it can be a somewhat habit-forming and dangerous sedative. Truthfully speaking, it’s been about twenty years since I’ve taken that medication (and I wasn’t even on it for very long then), but I’ve been told by some doctors in recent years, that it may have been one of the contributing culprits of most of the health issues I suffer from to this day (including my CKD.)

I suppose my point is, if you think you could manage your anxiety issues in a more natural way, I would certainly suggest that you try. Speak to your doctor about the after effects. I’ve also heard of some others who have found themselves in a similar position as myself, as well.

Please don’t be upset with me for sharing this. I just would hate to see others ruin their good health as I seem to have done. Do take good care of yourself romeo18302 and stay well. Keep me posted as to how you come along! Bye for now! 😊👍🙏✌️

Hi Sammi. Thank you for telling me your story. I had no idea Lorazepam could do that although it is medicine that messes with the chemicals in the brain so anything is possible I guess. Wow, that is scary to lose a whole day and not have any recollection of it. I'm on the .5 mg doses right now but don't take it all the time. I might try the melatonin, we have it in our medicine cabinet. I did hear that Lorazepam can be addictive and I definitely don't want to get hooked on something like that. Sorry to hear you lost both parents in such short time. That would have an effect on anyone. That's scary to hear that might have caused some of your health issues today. I will try and go natural and hopefully find relief that way. Thanks for sharing. God bless.

Thank you for your kind words Romeo. I appreciate it. 😊👍✌️

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