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Don’t Mess with Your Kidneys – A Personal Experience

I am so so happy and feel so lucky to have my health. My story below is a reminder on how quickly it could be taken away from you.  My recent experience drives it home on how important it is to take action when you recognize something is wrong. Even if you have a tiny inkling there might be something not so positive with your health, be proactive and see a doctor. Health is never out of style!

I had a personal run-in with what could have quickly become a disastrous health circumstance – A kidney Infection. Below my experience I’ve included tips from one of NYC’s best Urologists, Dr. David Shusterman, on how to prevent my story from happening to you.

About a month ago I was having mild symptoms of what I thought could be a UTI.  I’ve only ever had one UTI in my life so I wasn’t all that familiar with what the symptoms were in the first place.  I did feel frequent urgency to pee and had a little bit of pain in the abdomen. Regardless, I ignored the symptoms thinking it wasn’t an urgent matter and then just few days later, on a Friday, the symptoms disappeared as quickly as they had come.  Being that I wasn’t that concerned in the first place I barely celebrated the relief and I figured if I had had a UTI, it must have cured itself. ( For your future reference.. UTI’s very rarely cure themselves.)

Over the weekend I went to the gym a few times, spin class and yoga.. by the end of day Sunday I was starting to feel some pain in my back, right under my rib-cage. I dismissed the pain for something relating to my intense workouts.. that maybe I worked out some muscle group I rarely get to.

Monday came along and I was pumped to continue on my great workout routine.  However, I was now feeling pretty extreme pain in the same area of my back and seriously considered skipping Monday’s workout. However, I pressured myself and with a little encouragement from my workout buddy (my boyfriend) I ended up taking a bootcamp class. After the class I felt great, refreshed.. but I still had that pain in my back that I was starting to get concerned about. I even at that point mentioned, to my workout buddy, hmmm I hope I didn’t do something to my kidneys.. knowing that the pain was right around the area your Kidneys are supposed to be. But, I ignored my intuition and decided to go on with life, pop some painkillers and put a veil over the pain.

It wasn’t until I got back from a dinner Tuesday night and went to bed that I realized something was really wrong. As soon as I hit the sheets I started getting extreme chills and was sweating, profusely. I’m talking it looked like my skin was raining.. huge drops of water all over my body.  I had had a few drinks during dinner and I figured maybe that had exacerbated some other kind of illness I had.. maybe a cold turned bad.. the kidneys were in the back of my mind.

The next day, after sweating through a few changes of blankets overnight, I notified staff that I would be out of work for the day. I scheduled a doctor appointment for Thursday after deciding to wait out a day to see if I would get better on my own (not a good idea!).

All day and the next night were basically a repeat – sweating through sheets (and probably 10 outfits of sweats) and crazy chills and some constant shivering spells. I finally made it to the doctor Thursday morning – at this point I needed a chaperone I was in such bad shape and extreme pain.

The doctor confirmed my 103 degree fever and sure enough, I had a high grade kidney infection. If I had let it go another day the doctor said I would have been forced to hole up in a hospital with an iv strapped on. If I had let it go another 2 days it could have easily led to a more intense sepsis, blood infection, and even have led to amputation!

Luckily, I escaped with 2 weeks of antibiotics and at least 2 days of bed rest. I slowly nursed myself back to health and was feeling like my normal chipper self after a good week.

Don’t mess around with your health people! I’m so lucky I got to the doctor in time to stop the kidney infection from progressing any further. Please pay attention to the signs and signals your body is sending you to let you know something is off!

Never wanting to go through the experience again, I sat down with one of the best Urologists in the city – Dr. David Shusterman of NYUrology.com.  He gave me some great advice for me and girls like me who may not be up to date on all the deets on UTI’s and how to prevent them from turning into something much much worse.

The key of course is prevention. Anyone who’s had a UTI can tell you it’s no pretty walk in the park so forget the kidney infection part.. let’s just skip UTI’s altogether.

Here are Dr. Shusterman’s top 3 tips to avoid and prevent a UTI

  1. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
  2. Wipe from front to back. UTI’s are caused from bacteria and one of the main ways you get rid of bacteria in your system is through going #2. Try to avoid getting that bacteria back in your system by wiping from the front to back and do it efficiently!
  3. Go to the bathroom, after having sex. Sex is one of the main ways women contract UTI’s. The friction of sex allows all sorts of material (including stuff from the back end) to move around to the urethra.

Oh and that myth you’ve heard about drinking cranberry juice to help prevent and cure UTI’s? Well, you can stop drinking the juice for your urinary cure-all. It’s actually a myth according to Dr. Shusterman –  All just one brilliant marketing scheme for Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. In fact, cranberry juice could actually make some of your symptoms worse. I feel so taken advantage of!

Most importantly, if you start feeling the symptoms of a UTI don’t delay.. get to your doctor. The sooner you get on antibiotics the less chance you have of the infection spreading to other areas.

I highly recommend Dr. Shusterman, his office is at 800 2nd Ave.

Cheers to good health!

 

About Dr. Shusterman:

Dr. Shusterman is the managing partner and head urologist at Advanced New York Urology. He is experienced in robotic and minimally invasive surgery. He is an attending at Lenox Hill Hospital and New York Hospital in Queens. He has special interest in Urologic-Oncology, prostate cancer, robotic and minimally invasive surgery, and general urology.

Dr. Shusterman is well trained at Robotic Prostatectomy and other minimally invasive robotic surgeries. His clinical interest involves urologic oncology with special emphasis on the care of patients with prostate, bladder and other urological cancers. He performs open, laparoscopic and robotic surgeries. He performs state of the art kidney sparing surgery by freezing or removing the cancer cells and sparing the rest of the kidney. He is also very skilled in diagnosing prostate cancer by using PSA and modern ultrasound guided biopsy techniques.

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