Urinalysis Testing Strips - Help with kidneys please

Hi, I was wondering if anyone can help. I keep getting kidney infections, which clear up on antibiotics but come back. I bought some testing strips so that when I start to feel like an infection is coming on, I can check for leukocytes and then if they are present I can go to the doctor before it gets really painful. I am feeling very tired and shivery again with pain in my kidney area so I tested my wee this morning. Nothing happened to the leukocytes for quite a long time, and so I thought I may be mistaken about the infection. However, when I went to throw the stick in the bin about ten minutes later it had gone purple, reading 125++. I did another test a couple of hours later and timed it and it took 8 minutes for the purple to appear. The specific gravity is on the far right of the scale at 1.030.

Does this mean an infection is likely? The trouble is, the GP usually only waits a minute or so to see if an infection is present, they are unlikely to have a spare 8 minutes to wait. I strongly suspect that a stone is blocking my ureter on the right side, and that it is causing the infections. Other than continuing to try and flush it out, is there anything I can do instead of taking antibiotics? I don't want to keep taking painkillers either.

Any advice would be very welcome x

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11 Replies

  • If you are getting frequent kidney infections your GP ought to refer you for kidney tests. Are you treated for hypothyroidism? There is a connection with hypoT and kidney disease.

    Can you do a urine strip test prior to seeing your GP and take it with you, explaining the time delay? If the GP wants to test him/herself it should be possible to see another patient while allowing 10mins for the test to register and call you back in. Inconvenient for you, but it is one way for the GP to check. Alternatively a urine sample could be provided and checked at the lab.

  • Thank you for your reply :-) My TSH and T4 were normal (2.9 and 11.9) and they wouldn't test the antibodies but I have a lot of hypothyroid symptoms.

    My GP has retired and I have only seen the new one for a five minute "emergency" appointment. I tried to give her a potted history in the short time I had and her response was to ask me if I suffer with anxiety. After being in pain for most of the last year and a half I think most people would seem a little tense :-/ I cannot see her being understanding enough to do as you suggested :-(

  • Is there another GP you can see at the practice? Otherwise you will have to persist with her or change GP. Being in pain for a year needs investigation and you don't want kidney disease on top of hypothyroidism.

    Your TSH is high enough to make you to feel unwell and that, with your low FT4 indicate that you may be under medicated. Most people feel best with TSH just above or just below 1 and FT4 in the top 75% of range.

  • I do think that I would benefit from some thyroid medication but as my test results are normal no treatment has been offered. I am seriously considering trying to find a private endocrinologist but am worried about the cost. I did see another GP who was lovely but he is on holiday at the moment. The last one I saw did prescribe antibiotics and the infection cleared up while I was on them, or rather the symptoms were less bothersome. It is so frustrating because I don't like taking the antibiotics but I feel so ill when I try to manage without them. I really don't want to lose my kidney :-(

  • I'm not suggesting you'll lose your kidney :) but you don't want to lose any kidney function because of recurrent infection which is why it should be investigated.

    Because there is a link with hypothyroidism and kidney dysfunction I'd be inclined to discuss this with the empathetic GP when he returns from holiday and ask whether a referral to a specialist is warranted.

  • I know you weren't saying that :-) but I can't help but wonder how long my poor kidney can carry on working when it keeps hurting so much :-( Thank you, I will try again to get an appointment with the nice GP when he returns. I saw a doctor at the hospital walk in clinic a while back when I had a bad infection over one weekend and she said to make sure I followed up with a visit to my GP because I was too young to keep getting kidney infections. It made me smile as I am in my forties and it is not very often that I am described as young :-)

  • Have you only the one kidney? You can't risk that being damaged. Start trying to book an appt with nice GP now :)

  • Fortunately I have both kidneys :-) but the left one seems fine, the right one is the one that has been hurting for over a year x

  • Hi there, I work in healthcare and I am trained in reading urine strips.

    It is likely the urine strips you have will only show evidence of a urine infection not a kidney infection. You should only wait 120 seconds for the leukocytes to change as any longer may give a false result.

    It may be worth going for a blood test to test your white cell and CRP as abnormal (high) results of these suggest infection but check with your doctor. It may also be worth checking U+E's (urea and electrolytes) as this will show how your kidney is functioning.

    I can't advise about treatment I'm afraid but I hope you get the problem sorted soon!

  • Thank you for your reply, I did wonder about false results, yet I do have the symptoms of an infection :-/ I did have an FBC/TFT blood test taken by my gynae recently for a different issue but the results went back to him and not to my GP surgery, so I won't know what they were until I see him in June. He wants to insert the Mirena coil but I am very apprehensive :-(

  • I have not heard of the Mirena coil so I could not advise on that. Ask for all the treatment options available before making a decision that way you can research them all and choose based on advice, the information you find and personal preference.

    All blood results should be available on an online system so your GP may be able to access the results if you let him know they were taken. It may be worth having the bloods done again if it was a little while ago (any longer than a week).

    If you have the signs of an infection then it is probable you have one. It may be worth showing your GP daily temp readings and noting down symptoms in a diary to support what you are saying. (typanic temp is best-from the ear)

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