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June 27, 2000

Other Illnesses

Question from Greensboro, North Carolina , USA:

Two years ago, our identical twin sons were diagnosed with renal glycosuria. They are now 5 years old. Sugar is usually present in their urine, but all blood tests have been normal. Recently, our healthy 8 year old daughter was treated for a UTI. I took her to the physician immediately following her confession that she had not urinated in 2 days! It took an hour to get a sample. White blood cells and protein were present. A few days later, she came down with strep throat and was treated with more antibiotics. Today, during a well check up, she had a significant amount of protein in her urine. We were told to bring a morning sample in 3 weeks, as she is an otherwise very healthy child. What's going on? What does it mean to have protein in the urine? What are they looking for? Could this in any way be related to the boys problem?


Proteinuria [protein in the urine] is generally separate form glycosuria [sugar in the urine], and is certainly worth checking out. The commonest cause of proteinuria is a urine infection, and is important to have this ruled out. If she is having repeated UTI’s it is important to look for an underlying reason. Other causes are kidney problems, and a benign condition where protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine in some people. However, it does need checked out to be sure things are okay.

Additional comments from Dr. Bill Quick:

Renal glycosuria is a very interesting condition: it’s a situation where the patient has sugar in the urine frequently, but the blood levels of sugar are normal. It has nothing to do with diabetes. However, in the “old days” before blood tests for sugar were widely available, and when urine sugar testing was commonly done to diagnose diabetes, some people with renal glycosuria were mistakenly labelled as having diabetes. Which is why we now always want to get elevated levels of blood sugar to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes when a urine sugar test is positive.