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Question:

I am wondering about the potential for bladder infections and kidney problems in young diabetics. My son was diagnosed four years ago at age five. In the last year he has had several three or four day long episodes of very low abdominal (pelvic) pain along with lower back pain. At first I thought it was maybe gas or muscle aches (he is very active,) but last night he was complaining about the pain and my husband said that it sounded like his kidneys. I don't think that the pain is very severe since it is not interfering with his activity level at all. He has been running around, swimming at the beach, went on a long bike ride, etc. but it is bothering him.

I thought maybe it was a bladder infection, but he is urinating normally and has no pain with that. (Although I recently had a bladder infection that was mostly asymptomatic, so I guess it is possible.)

The thing I was thinking was that it is something triggered by high blood sugars (possibly pain from sugar spilling over into his kidneys and irritating them?) He is normally VERY well controlled, but occasionaly we get one of those unexplained highs, and we had one last night around the time he started to complain of pain.

Obviously we are going to consult with his doctor today, but I just wondered if you had any info pertaining to bladder and kidney problems. All of the other info I can find is only related to older people. In the event that this is just "nothing" (or a simple infection of some kind) I would still like to know what signs to look for in the future.

Thank you.

Answer:

Urine infections are more common in people with diabetes. However, you don't say that your son has ever had a proven infection. It is possible to have a urine infection without all the common symptoms and you can't be sure without getting your doctor to send a specimen to the lab. High sugars alone don't cause abdominal pain but high sugars and ketones can although your son would be unwell and certainly not running around at the beach. Interestingly, pain - for any reason - can cause high blood sugars rather than the other way round.

Sugar spilling into the urine doesn't cause any pain and doesn't irritate the kidneys - it just makes them produce more urine.

KJR

Original posting 23 May 1996

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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