Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Question Received Via E-Mail

I got an e-mail on Saturday asking me a question. I will reproduce the e-mail here (minus any personal information) and attempt to provide the best answer that I can.

EMAIL FROM: M.R.
DATE: AUGUST 4, 2007 at 5:42PM

Hi Nathan...

I'm writing in search of some better answers than what we are getting. My good friend is 34, male, and has PKD ( he was diagnosed about 3 years ago). We have yet to find any good help. His urine has been bloody for a week, after not being able to get into a doctor he went to the emergency room at a local hospital. After some testing and a CAT scan they said he has kidney stones and sent him on his way. Still unable to get into a specialist and still bleeding... I'm trying to be supportive and came across your site in my online searching for answers. Any advice or directions you could point me in for more answers/research would be much appreciated. I'm sure you are a busy man, but I thought I'd reach out. Your blog is great I thank you for sharing your experience!

Thank you for you time
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Well, I can tell you right off that I have had several kidney stones in my life. The first one was back around 1998 or so, while I was in college. Several of my kidney stones came with blood in my urine, which is never a good thing to see. If the hospital sent him home after seeing kidney stones on a CT scan, then it probably means that the stones are small enough to pass on their own. Now, having said that, the "passing" is not that easy. My first suggestion would be to see if he could get a doctor to prescribe him some pain medication that is a bit stronger than the over-the-counter stuff. I've had kidney stones that lasted anywhere from a day to a week, but usually on the shorter end, once I started feeling the severe pain. I would notice the blood in the urine for several days before having any pain (if it was a kidney stone). If you find that your friend has not passed the stone within a day or two, he should head back to the hospital to complain again, letting them know how long the pain has been going on. If he is not in terrible pain, then the only thing to do is to wait.

As long as his kidney function is still strong, the only other thing to do is to drink a lot of water. That is the only way the kidney stone will get passed. He has to keep drinking water to move the stone out of his system. In fact, I noticed that I usually would have a kidney stone about once a year or 18 months, when I had slowed down on drinking water. It is highly important to stay well hydrated. It is my understanding that keeping well hydrated will help prevent the stones from forming, or will help keep them small enough so that they do not hurt (as badly) when being passed.

And, of course, with Polycystic Kidney Disease, blood in the urine will be a common problem. Does your friend have a regular nephrologist? Is he going to see the nephrologist on a regular basis? That is the only other advice I have. Stay current with his kidney doctor so that they can track the progress of the disease and keep him ready for any problems that may come his way.

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I hope my e-mail was helpful. I just sent that exact text to M.R. earlier today. I hope everyone is having a good week. I had my bone density scan on Monday, and I am still in "Increased Fracture Risk" like I was six months ago. I'll know more when I see the doctor in a couple of weeks. If I get a chance, I'll try to post the results of the test between tomorrow and the next doctor's visit.

Have a great day!
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