Kidney Disease & Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

Kidney infection? Urine culture was negative though?

I had a kidney infection a few months ago.  i recovered....very slowly!  But for the past few weeks I have been having pain in the right kidney area again.  Its not as bad as it was when i was in the hospital last time, but at times its bad.  i went to my urologist who tested my urine.  I did have white blood cells in my urine which indicates an infection, but the culture came back negative???  Tested again, and still negative.  Is it possible that the test missed the infection twice??  Could it be something else?  No fever this time, but i am very dizzy all day lately.  That could be from other meds i am taking though.  My GI issues are under control now, so i know its not that.  I have had two CT scans and they were fine.  Any ideas what could be going on??  Thanks!!
11 Responses
Avatar universal

Are you still currently on antibiotics?

If not,when was the last time you took your antibiotics?

Intake of antibiotics may affect the results of your urine culture.In rare instances, especially with a medical history of travel,the organism involved may require special culture media. Example of which is tuberculosis. Do you have any previous exposure to someone with TB? Any history of travel lately?
Avatar universal
Hi, thanks for responding!  I have been on antibiotics a lot.  I got C. diff so i have been on and off vancomycin since february.  I also just started macrobid cause my new urologist thinks i may have an infection or reflux.  i was in aruba in january before all this started.  i am waiting to hear the results of my latest urine culture.  but the pain is bad again.  the doc thinks i may have a reflux from my bladder up to the kidney.  

i dont think i have been around anyone with TB??
Avatar universal
I tried posted this earlier and it didn't take, maybe it will this time!

First let me say that I'm not making any medical claims, this info is from my own experience.

You say you have C-dif.  Have you ever tried Primeal Defense?  You can find it at most Health Food stores.
My dad and aunt had C-dif.  They were given flagel and vancomicin, but the meds didn't help much.  After taking PD, their symptoms were better in 1-2 days.  
Primeal Defense is just Good Bacteria.  C-dif can be deadly if not got under control.  Your body needs the Good Bacteria.

Now, have you ever heard of IC (Interstitial Cystitis)?  It's a painful bladder disease - not deadly but painful.  The symptoms mimick a uti but in most cases no infection.  Some symptoms are frequency, urgency, lower back pain, goin pain, kidney pain, burning, itching, etc.  Symptoms are different for each person.  Might be worth checking into.

Good luck to you
Avatar universal
Hi, I have never heard of IC.  I will look into it.  I have a test tomorrow to see if i have a Vesicoureteral reflux.  Thats when urine from your bladder goes up to your kidneys.  Luckily I found a new urologist who seems to be on top of things and wants to test me for other problems other than UTI's.  My old urologist said there is nothing he can do for me after my culture came back negative.  He said that I don't have an infection so there is nothing wrong....moron!  I have a lot of pain in my right kidney.  Not so much in the bladder area which is what you get with IC...from what i have read about it so far.  I do have some burning, but not too much urgency to urinate.  

Thanks for your advise.  I will definitely mention it to my doctor.
Avatar universal
Actually, the pain can "travel" to other areas.  I feel the bladder pain in both kidneys from time to time.  The lower part of my back stays sore.  When I have a flare up or spasm, the bottom of the heels get so sore.  Some mornings I feel like I can't even walk.

IC is different for each person- no two people are alike and this makes IC hard to pin down.  For me, sitting on a hard surface, walking too much, eating citrus-spicy foods-caffeine-canned vegetables....all make me have spasms.  I had IC for Years and never knew that's what was wrong with me.  I just thought I had a bad back.  I never had the urgency, frequency,etc until I had a hyster back last Sept.  I got a uti from the cathter, but after the infection was gone, I still had the symptoms....just no infection.  My ob/gyn sent me to a Uro and he found my problem.  He's such a good doctor, I just love him to death!

Now don't forget about the Primeal Defense for the C-dif.   I really think you'll see a difference in a few days.

Best of luck to you!
Avatar universal
well, just back from the doctor and I do not have a reflux.  so, once again another doctor tells me that he has no idea what is wrong with me!  i feel like i am going nuts!  this is the 4th urologist i have been to in a matter of months.  they all test me than say i dont know why your having pain??  i forgot to ask him about IC today, but i will call monday and ask him.  

do you take pain killers for the pain from IC??

thanks so much for your help!!
Avatar universal

You have mentioned of pain in the kidney area which I would assume is in the lower back. Your culture results have always been negative and there is no evidence of reflux based on your tests. CT scan results also appeared to be within normal. The only significant finding so far based on your post is the presence of WBC in the urine. At this point, I think the urine culture is negative due to the intake of antibiotics.

Interstitial cystitis may be a differential here however, do you experience increased urinary frequency which seems to heighten at night? Any pain with sexual activity?

The pain of IC is located in the lower abdomen to the perineal (area between anus and genitals). Is this similar to your case?

I would suggest that you also have a complete pelvic examination done just to rule out underlying involvement of these structures.
Avatar universal
No pain killers for me.  I do take Prosed Ds.  It does give me relief.  The thing about IC is that every patient is different.  I sure didn't fit the IC pattern and neither do a lot of people.  You should ask about it.  There is a website wwwdotic-networkdotcom.  Check it out, speak with other people.  You may find you're problems are common with theirs and then again you may find it's not even your problem at all.

I do wish you the best.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your help!  I have some irritation and burning when I urinate which leads me to believe that I do have an infection.  Not to mention the white blood cells in my urine.  But if I did have an infection wouldn't i be getting a lot sicker cause it is not being treated?

I have been on vancocin for the past few months for c. diff.  every time i had the urine culture i was on the vancocin and my doctors knew that.  could this drug make my culture negative?  i am off it now cause the c. diff is gone.  so i am not taking any antibiotics now.

i have noticed lately that i get pain late in the day around my belly button area....a little below and sometimes to the right a bit.  it is pretty bad at times.  i don't have increased frequency to urinate, but then again i do go a lot.  i drink a lot of water all day, so i go every two hours.  there is almost always a little burning.  and there is almost always kidney pain before and after i urinate.  not all the time though.  also my urine is always cloudy and sometimes i notice tiny particles in it.

i had a pelvic before all this started....and it was fine.  what kind of tests need to be done to see if i have IC?  do i see a urologist for this?
Avatar universal
You would see a uro.  I did have an infection (caused by the cath. when I had my hyster).  However, after the infection was gone, I still had the same symptoms and that's when my ob/gyn sent me to a uro.  

The uro did a cystoscope with dilation....it was done in the office.  That's when he saw I had IC.  

Have you gone to the website I mentioned?  You should really check it out.  Doctors also visit that site from time to time.  It's very informative.

I really hope you find your problem and are able to get some relief!!!

Take care.
Avatar universal
    I am recently experiencing quite a problem. I'm 24 years old, no kids, no history of UTIs, Yeast infections, nothing. Always been healthy "down there". I recently have been through fiascos with the gyno trying to get an IUD. I had my first insertion of a copper IUD (I'm coming off of depo) on Feb 15th, I had to have a pap smear two weeks before that, and then my body expelled it the next day and I had to go back and the gyno had to go inside and remove it the rest of the way- it was partially sticking out of my cervix. My uterus had cramped it out.

About a week after the gyno removed the IUD. I all of a sudden one night woke up for work, and I had a constant urgency to urinate. No pain, no burning or tingling... but literally had to pee every 15 minutes, and when I would go it would be a few drops. I knew immediately it was early symptoms of a UTI, this was a Friday night so over the weekend I just flushed as much as possible with cranberry, cystex ( theyre like new azo cran mixture) and plenty of fluids. Come Monday, no relief, so I called gyno and went in for an appt. They did a urine test one me, said I had elevated white blood cells so they put me on Cipro for a week.

Once that week was up, I wasn't any better, nor any worse, still no pain but still the urgency. So I call my Dr. and ask for a different antibiotic and they notify me that my culture came back negative so I didn't have anything and it must be nerves or something else.

So at this point, I had been to the gyno 3 times in one month... so I'm thinking it's still a UTI and maybe too soon for growth.... obviously the visits to the gyno are what triggered it...

On March 2nd I had them try again with a new IUD. This placement was successful, the doctor noticed that when she went to pull the tube out that inserts it, that the IUD came down with it, so she then held it in place while removing the tube, and this insertion as of now has been a success. My uterus probably cramped out the first one because it had pulled down out of placement before I even got off the table.

I'm feeling fine all this time, only thing I'm doing new is wearing panty liners because my depo is weaning off and I'm spotting.... they def irritate my skin, but I can't find another brand for thongs in any stores near me.

This past Wednesday, on march 16th... I woke up in the most horrible pain I could imagine. My left lower abdomen and left lower back ached like mad. Felt like glass was inside me twisting around. There wasnt a single position that I felt remote relief, nor heating pad, hot shower... I took a flexeril thinking it was a crazy muscle spasm or cramp, that did nothing. I was sweating profusely because of the pain and literally couldn't even put clothes on after getting out of the shower.

I thought I was passing a kidney stone. I personally have no history with them, but my older brother has had them around my age... I called ambulance because I couldnt move let alone drive... went to ER... for some reason the only relief I got was sitting on a toilet ( doing nothing) but just the feeling of baring down seemed to provide some very small comfort. The nurse had to straight cath me because I couldn't give her a urine specimine, turned out my bladder was empty, she then had to give me fluids, and then recath me to get the specimin. They finally gave me Morphine for my pain... did CT to rule out kidney stones... that was clear.. they found Protein, White Blood Cells, Blood, Keytones and something else that I cant remember in my urine... so they sent me home with a script for Bactrim for 5 days, and Vicodin for my pain. They said to follow up with my gyno.... but I'm going to a urologist on Friday because I don't trust them to check me out right... since they told me I was fine and obviously something was wrong. I went to the hospital yesterday to get the results from my UA for the Urologist appt, and my culture was also negative again! Now I'm really worried it's something serious, I seem to feel okay, my urethra is alittle sore kinda but I think that may be from the catheter being done twice. I've never had a catheter done before. Another thing that makes me wonder from reading this site, is that sometimes my urethra gets sore after alot of sex. Only if sex is unusually long, or its been a while.. If I'm having sex on kind of a regular basis, it's fine.. not irritated. I always thought that it was normal, that things just kinda heal up on its days off and that first time back kinda stretches and pulls on everything.

Does anyone have any kind of insight or advice for me???  Id greatly appreciate it, I am so nervous!
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