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Kidney Diseases

Causes For Low Creatinine Levels in Urine

01/09/2009

Question:

I currently have no medical issues, am 27, female, single and am in a drug rehab program that requires urine tests (weekly and/or random). I have been on the program almost a year. My recent urine test showed low levels of creatinine. The person administering test says alcohol use can cause this. I am not using. Is there anything else that can cause low levels of creatinine? Only thing I have done different lately is go on the Atkins, low carb diet and take a second job that keeps me very busy. Also have a urinary tract infection. Thank you.

Answer:

Low urine creatinine levels are of no concern, as long as the blood creatinine level is normal.  If there is a lot of water in the urine (in other words, if is very dilute), the creatinine level will be low.  The important thing is that the kidney needs to get rid of creatinine, which is a waste product. So if urine creatinine is low, but there is a lot of urine, the creatinine will still get excreted, no problem.   This can happen, for instance, if you are drinking a lof of water (or if you've consumed alcohol): a lower creatinine concentration but a large volume of urine still results in getting rid of all the creatinine that you need to.  And of course, if you have a urinary tract infection, you should be drinking a lot of water, because this helps to wash bacteria out of the bladder.

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University