What Should You Do If You Suspect A Kidney Infection
If you suspect you may have a kidney infection, dont ignore it. These symptoms will not just go away on their own. A kidney infection that is left untreated can result in:
- Kidney scarring
- Kidney failure
- High blood pressure;
- Blood poisoning : If untreated, the bacteria from the kidney infection spreads into your bloodstream and can cause the infection to become life-threatening.;
A kidney infection is a serious condition that deserves prompt medical care. Visit a doctor or urgent care unless your symptoms are severe.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you feel feverish and have pain that will not go away in your tummy, lower back or genitals.
Contact a GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.
If you cannot get a GP appointment and need urgent medical attention, go to your nearest urgent care centre .
If you do not have a local UCC, go to your nearest A&E.
What Are The Causes Of Kidney Infection
A kidney infection;is caused by bacteria, often E. coli. They get into your urethra and move up to your bladder and ureter and then into your kidneys. Often you will have a urinary tract infection ;or cystitis at the same time or before you have a kidney infection. However, you can develop a kidney infection without a UTI or cystitis if you have kidney stones, diabetes or a weakened immune system. ;
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Diagnosis Of Kidney Infection
Sometimes imaging tests
The typical symptoms of pyelonephritis lead doctors to do two common laboratory tests to determine whether the kidneys are infected: examination of a urine specimen under a microscope to count the number of red and white blood cells and bacteria and a urine culture, in which bacteria from a urine sample are grown in a laboratory to identify the numbers and type of bacteria . Blood tests may be done to check for elevated white blood cell levels , bacteria in the blood, or kidney damage.
Imaging tests are done in people who have intense back pain typical of renal colic, in those who do not respond to antibiotic treatment within 72 hours, in those whose symptoms return shortly after antibiotic treatment is finished, in those with long-standing or recurring pyelonephritis, in those whose blood test results indicate kidney damage, and in men . Ultrasonography or helical computed tomography studies done in these situations may reveal kidney stones, structural abnormalities, or other causes of urinary obstruction.
How Are Acute Kidney Infections Treated
Children are typically given oral antibiotics to take at home. However, if the infection is advanced, a child may receive intravenous antibiotics in the hospital. Staying well hydrated is an extremely important part of treatment, and children should drink plenty of fluids during and after treatment. There is evidence that good hydration during recovery may help reduce long-term kidney damage.
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Risk Factors For A Kidney Infection
There are a few things that can up your risk factor of contracting a kidney infection, according to the Mayo Clinic, and some you have zero control over:
Having avagina. The urethra, that small tube that carries urine out of your body, is shorter in people with vaginas than it is in people with penises. That makes it easier for bacteria to travel from outside your body into the bladder. Your urethra is also close to your vagina and anus, which opens you up to more chances that bacteria from one of those areas will get into your urinary tract.
Having something blocking your urinary tract. That can be anything that slows down the flow of urine or makes it hard for you to fully empty your bladder when you pee, like a kidney stone.
Other potential risk factors include having damage to the nerves around your bladder, using a urinary catheter for the first time, and having a condition like vesicoureteral reflux, which causes urine to flow the wrong way, the Mayo Clinic says.
Can A Uti Go Away On Its Own
The short answer is yes, some UTIs can go away on their own. This usually happens in adult women with no other health problems . But its not always possible to predict which women dont need treatment, and some untreated UTIs can cause serious health problems.
A few studies in women have shown that some women with UTIs can get better with no medication. But a significant number of women who arent treated develop serious health complications and may even need to be hospitalized.;;
So while you may get over a UTI on your own, the risks of not treating a UTI can be pretty high. Below we discuss some of these risks.
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Understanding Your Urinary Tract
Your urinary tract, or urinary system, comprises several different organs designed to extract, hold, and transport waste from your system in the form of urine. The main organs involved in the urinary system include:
- The kidneys: These two organs sit on each side of your body, generally around the waist. They filter out excess water and waste from your blood to create urine.
- The ureters: These two thin tubes run between the kidney and bladder, transporting urine to the bladder.
- The bladder: This organ stores urine until it reaches a certain level, at which point you feel the need to pee. The body voluntarily contracts the muscles that line the bladder to urinate.
- The urethra: This thin tube connects the bladder to the outside of the body. When you urinate, a muscle called the urinary sphincter relaxes as your bladder contracts to remove urine from your body.
Urinary tract infections happen when bacteria infect any part of your urinary system, but they are most common in your lower urinary tract, comprising the urethra and bladder.
Why Are The Elderly Prone To Utis
Older individuals are more vulnerable for many reasons, including their overall susceptibility to infections due to a weakened immune system.
As you get older, your immune response changes; its part of normal aging, explains Anna Dowd, APN, a gerontological nurse practitioner in the greater Chicago area and past president of the National Conference of Gerontological Nurse Practitioners.
According to the National Institutes of Health , the following conditions make older individuals more susceptible to UTIs:
- Urine retention
- Use of a urinary catheter
- Bowel incontinence
- Urinary incontinence
- Surgery of any area around the bladder
- Kidney stones
People with incontinence are at an increased risk for UTIs because of the close contact that adult briefs and other incontinence products have with their skin. While these products can help contain messes and prevent embarrassment associated with accidents, they can also introduce bacteria into the urethra. Women are more prone to UTIs because the female urethra is much shorter, allowing bacteria to travel to the bladder more easily.
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What Are The Signs Of Pyelonephritis
Many dogs have no clinical signs when they have pyelonephritis, although they may have signs of lower urinary tract disease. The signs of lower urinary tract infection include:
- increased drinking and increased urination
- difficult/painful urination
- frequent urination of small volumes of urine
- inappropriate urination
- slow, uncomfortable urination
Additional signs of upper urinary tract infection include fever and pain when the kidneys are palpated during the physical examination. Also, one or both kidneys may be abnormal in size.
Should I Go To The Er For A Kidney Infection
Should I go to the ER for a kidney infection? Kidney infections occur when bacteria from your bowel enter your urinary tract, causing an infection that requires medical attention. However, you may not need to visit the emergency room for a kidney infection if your symptoms are not severe. If you do believe youre having severe kidney infection symptoms, visit an emergency room as soon as possible.;
Check out the answers to other ER-related questions:
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Can Kidney Infections Be Prevented
You can reduce your chances of developing a kidney infection by keeping your bladder and urethra free from bacteria. This can include drinking plenty of fluids, keeping your genitals clean and treating any constipation.
The symptoms of a kidney infection usually develop quite quickly over a few hours or days.
- pain and discomfort in your side, lower back;or around your genitals
- high temperature
- shivering or chills
- feeling very weak or tired
- loss of appetite
You may have other symptoms;if you also have cystitis or urethritis;. These additional symptoms may include:
- pain or a burning sensation during urination
- need to urinate frequently or urgently
- feeling that you’re unable to urinate fully
- blood in your;urine
- cloudy or foul smelling urine
- pain in your lower abdomen
Relief Without A Prescription
An over-the-counter drug called phenazopyridine can help ease your pain, burning, and irritation. It also controls your need to pee frequently and urgently.
But there’s a catch. It only works on your symptoms. It doesn’t cure your infection. You still need to see your doctor to make sure you get treatment to fight the bacteria that’s causing your UTI.
Also, one common side effect: It turns your pee dark red or orange while you take it.
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What Conditions Are Related To Recurrent Utis
Recurrent UTIs sometimes happen along with other conditions, such as:
- vesicoureteral reflux , which is found in 30%50% of kids diagnosed with a UTI. In this congenital condition, pee flows backward from the bladder to the ureters. Ureters are thin, tube-like structures that carry pee from the kidney to the bladder. Sometimes the pee backs up to the kidneys. If it’s infected with bacteria, it can lead to pyelonephritis.
- hydronephrosis, which is an enlargement of one or both kidneys due to backup or blockage of urine flow. It’s usually caused by severe VUR or a blocked ureter. Some kids with hydronephrosis might need to take daily low doses of antibiotics to prevent UTIs until the condition producing hydronephrosis gets better or is fixed through surgery.
But not all cases of recurrent UTIs can be traced back to these body structure-related problems. For example, dysfunctional voiding when a child doesn’t relax the muscles properly while peeing is a common cause of UTIs. Not peeing often enough also can also increase a child’s risk for recurrent infections. Both dysfunctional voiding and infrequent urination can be associated with constipation.
Rarely, unrelated conditions that harm the body’s natural defenses, such as diseases of the immune system, also can lead to recurrent UTIs. Use of;a nonsterile urinary catheter can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract and also cause an infection.
How Do You Get Rid Of A Uti
The best way to ensure your bladder infection goes away completely is by taking an antibiotic; however, there are a few other ways that you can help rid your body of the infection.
Drinking cranberry juice, eating or drinking vitamin C and taking a probiotic can all help you feel better if youre dealing with a UTI.
If you still dont feel better after youve finished your antibiotic, you should let your doctor know as your body may have established a resistance to the medication.
If this happens, a urine test may be needed to determine what medication might work better.
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When Symptoms Become More Severe
If symptoms gradually worsen, this may be a sign of a kidney infection. Along with the traditional UTI symptoms of frequent and painful urination, these additional symptoms will occur.
- Fever and Chills
- Pain In the Lower Back
- You will experience mild to severe pain on one of both sides of the lower back depending on where the infection has spread.
Treatment And Medication Options For Kidney Infection
Kidney infections are treated with;antibiotics, either oral or intravenous , depending on the severity of your infection and its symptoms.
People with severe illness may need to be hospitalized for several days or longer for initial treatment. During this time, you may receive IV antibiotics in addition to fluids while your medical team monitors you closely.
The oral antibiotics prescribed for kidney infection generally must be taken for 7 to 14 days, to make sure all of the bacteria causing the infection have been killed. Its most common for your doctor to prescribe a 14-day course of antibiotics.
For reasons that arent fully understood, kidney infections in men are often resistant to treatment and may require as long as six weeks of antibiotic therapy.
Your doctor may order follow-up tests after antibiotic treatment to make sure you no longer have an infection.
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How Is A Kidney Infection Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, do a physical exam, and likely run some diagnostic tests. Those include a urinalysis, to check your pee under a microscope for bacteria and white blood cells, which your body makes to fight infection, and a urine culture to help find out what kind of bacteria is causing the infection, the NIDDK says. Your doctor may even take a blood sample to check for bacteria or other organisms in your blood, the Mayo Clinic says.
Other tests that might come up include an ultrasound, a CT scan, or a form of X-ray called a voiding cystourethrogram, which involves injecting a contrast dye to take X-rays of your bladder when its full and while youre peeing, per the Mayo Clinic.
When Should I Go To The Doctor For A Uti
Any time youre suffering from symptoms that are similar to those of a urinary tract infection, you should visit a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis.
These symptoms include pain or burning when you urinate, blood in your urine, an urgent feeling to urinate, frequent urination in small amount, fever or chills, back pain, pain over the bladder or cloudy or dark urine.
If youve been diagnosed with a UTI and are currently being treated with an antibiotic, there is a good chance you wont need to return to your doctor.
However, if do not feel your symptoms going away after youve completed your antibiotics, its a good idea to go back to the doctor.
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Vesicoureteral Reflux Is A Serious Condition
It is important to know that your child may outgrow VUR. The average age when a child may outgrow VUR is five or six years old. Children are more likely to outgrow VUR with lower grades of Reflux. This is what your doctor or paediatric urologist calls spontaneous resolution. If your child has been diagnosed with VUR it is really important that VUR be treated to avoid long-term complications.
The likelihood of spontaneous resolution varies according to a childs age, grade of VUR, and whether the VUR is on one ureter or both.
VUR Resolution Chart Percent Chance of Reflux Resolution After A Specified Number of Years1.
American Urological Association
More severe grades of reflux are associated with lower rates of spontaneous resolution and a higher incidence of renal scarring.2
Continual UTIs can permanently damage the kidney
When a child has VUR, urine backs up into the kidney. Sometimes the urine contains bacteria that cause a urinary tract infection . Bacteria in the kidney can lead to damage over time, which may eventually lead to kidney failure and/or high blood pressure. Some kidney infections that develop suddenly can even be life threatening. The risk of kidney damage is greatest during the first 6 years of life. The goal is to find VUR early and prevent infection that could result in kidney damage.
Antibiotics are not an effective treatment for preventing kidney disease3
What Is A Uti Anyway
A UTI, or urinary tract infection, happens when bacteria enters into any part of your urinary system, which includes the urethra, the bladder, the kidneys or the uterus. If not flushed out of the system, the bacteria can lead to an infection, or a UTI.
If youve ever had a UTI , you probably havent forgotten the symptoms. UTIs are very unpleasant, to say the least, and are often accompanied with one or more of the following:
A burning sensation when urinating
A strong urge to urinate often, usually passing only small amounts of urine at a time.
Cloudy and/or strong smelling urine
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