I’ve written about having problems with my Kidneys before. This time I would like to give some in depth information. Yes, some of it sounds too clinical but it’s your body. If you don’t know your own body how are you to know when something isn’t right? We can’t always depend on the Medical Community to advocate for us or to have all the answers. So try to stick with me while I use words even I have not heard of.
Along the way I’ll inject some of my own results so maybe it will help to make sense.
Healthy kidneys are about the size of a computer mouse, but they do a lot of work. They filter all the blood in your body every 30 minutes, removing waste, toxins, and excess fluids.
Kidneys also help to control blood pressure, stimulate red blood cells, keep bones healthy and regulate chemicals in the blood essential to life.
A Renal Scan of my kidneys showed the left one was enlarged 6 times the normal size and my right kidney was the size of a grape.
HOW THINGS WORK
Urine collects into a part of the kidney called the renal pelvis. From the renal pelvis the urine travels down a narrow tube called a ureter (each side has one) into the bladder. The bladder slowly fills with urine and empties from the body through another small tube the urethra.
Both of my ureters had thickened blocking the travel of urine. This is rare in adult women unless there is trauma/injury involved. In my case there wasn’t. Usually doctors only see thickening in one ureter not both. They do see it in men with prostate cancer or some infants.
Each kidney is made up of tiny filters called nephrons. Nephrons can become damaged by diabetes, high blood pressure or other causes and stop working. When this happens it’s called Chronic Kidney Disease, when not treated it can lead to Kidney Failure.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Early Chronic Kidney Disease really has no symptoms. It’s usually suspected when a routine urine test is done. If blood and protein are found in your urine your Doctor should look into the cause of it. If just one or the other is found they should still do further testing.
Other than diabetes and high blood pressure, kidney stones, blood clots, scar tissue from surgery, cancer, or a congenital blockage can also be the cause. If it isn’t treated as soon as possible the risk of permanent damage to your kidneys is high.
As CKD advances you may have pain in your sides and back. Abdominal pain and nausea are common too.
I had blood and protein in my urine for years. I also had pain in my sides and back. I was sent to 1 Urologist who performed 1 test and concluded that “Some people just have blood and protein in their urine for no reason”. Turns out he was wrong.
The only answer I have is that I have Bilateral Ureteral Thickening that is Idiopathic (no known cause). Every 4 to 6 months I have to go under anesthesia to have the stents replaced that keep both ureters open. The human body is not meant to have these stents in permanently but when they tried taking them out 24 hours later I went into Kidney Failure again. I have constant pain on both sides at the bottom of my ribs and both sides of my back, my blood pressure is always too low and my body temperature stays at 93 to 94 degrees. My immune system is compromised so I get sick easily. I’m always tired. I have to drink an enormous amount of water which causes more pain and discomfort. My left kidney is the only one working at 70% the left is useless. Not one Doctor in the my State or the two surrounding me has answers. At some point the stents will stop working and they will have to make a hole coming out of each side of my back for a drainage tube that comes out and down your leg. The dressing has to be kept clean and changed often. It isn’t pretty.
Do your research. If you think something more is going on and your Doctor isn’t as helpful as you think they should be, find another one.
To this day I have not been given a special diet for my kidneys or told that I should have a Kidney Doctor. I was only told to stay away from dark tea and soda. Be your own advocate, I can’t say it enough.
None of the Doctors can tell me how all of this works with my Bipolar medication either. I’m guessing it doesn’t. Since this started I have not been the same. My family can tell you that. Below are pictures of different stents used, how my kidneys kind of looked except the left was bigger and the instrument used to place my stents through the urethra. Good thing there is anesthesia.