It Turns Out Urine Is Not Sterile
It has become common knowledge that urine is sterile its even become ingrained in first aid advice, like urinating on a wound is better than using non-sterile water. But it turns out its not.
The bladder has its own unique microbiome, and an ideal balance of microbes that your body does its best to maintain.
Studies have found hundreds of different bacteria in healthy bladders. And in patients with UTIs, they have found even more. Thats a lot of different bacteria that were assumed not to exist in the bladder!
Because UTI test techniques have always assumed urine is sterile, they have always been flawed.
For many, the consequences of this are UTI test results that list contamination which implies the bacteria came from a source other than the bladder possibly skin, vagina, or elsewhere.
This contamination may actually be bacteria from inside the bladder that should be considered as part of the puzzle. Results may also show insignificant levels of growth that are then often dismissed.
Its important to acknowledge here that actual sample contamination is also a real possibility, so minimizing this is also important. Weve discussed this more below.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Utis
Symptoms of a UTI can include:
- pain when peeing
- changes in how often a child needs to pee
- changes in the look or smell of pee
- lower belly pain
- lower back pain or discomfort
UTIs also can cause kids to wet their pants or the bed, even if they haven’t had these problems before. Infants and very young children may only show nonspecific signs, such as fever, vomiting, or decreased appetite or activity.
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.
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Signs Of A Kidney Infection To Know And When To Go To The Hospital
Youre probably not constantly on the lookout for signs of a kidney infection. But getting a urinary tract infection can open you up to also getting an infection in one or both kidneys, which means this is an illness that should be on your radar. Yep, it’s an unfortunate truth: A urinary tract infection can lead to a kidney infection, which is medically known as pyelonephritis and can be incredibly serious. So if youre experiencing symptoms of a UTI and thinking, Eh, I can wait a few more days to get those antibiotics, think again. Heres what you need to know about the signs of a kidney infection, its underlying causes, why its so important to get treatment as soon as you can, and more.
What Is A Kidney Infection Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
A kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, occurs when harmful bacteria reach your kidneys as part of a urinary tract infection .
Most UTIs dont involve the kidneys. They affect only your lower urinary tract, meaning your urethra and bladder. But sometimes an infection that begins there moves into your upper urinary tract, affecting one or both kidneys.
Its also possible to get a kidney infection following surgery, if bacteria enter your body during the procedure and travel through your bloodstream to your kidneys. In this case, your lower urinary tract may not be affected.
If you have symptoms of a UTI or bladder infection such as pain with urination, smelly urine, low back pain, or discolored urine its important to seek medical treatment to prevent the infection from spreading to your kidneys.
Kidney infections can be quite painful and require prompt evaluation and treatment. If your infection isnt treated soon enough, it may permanently damage your kidneys or spread to your bloodstream, possibly leading to and the impairment of other vital organs.
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Differentiating Kidney Stones From A Urinary Tract Infection
It can be concerning to experience pain down there. Many questions of what could be causing the pain and discomfort run circles in your mind. Your first move might be calling your primary care doctor and declaring you have a UTI. Stop right there the symptoms of UTIs and kidney stones can be similar, but treatment is very different. In this article, we will be discussing the similarities and differences between the two and when you should go see a doctor.
Kidney Infection Home Remedies
You can do some things at home to feel better while you have an infection:
- Drink plenty of fluids to flush out germs.
- Get extra rest.
- When you go to the bathroom, sit on the toilet instead of squatting over it, which can keep your bladder from completely emptying.
- Take a pain reliever with acetaminophen. Donât use aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen because these can raise your risk of kidney problems.
- Use a heating pad on your belly, back, or side.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection occurs anywhere in the urinary tract system, which is made up of several different organs. To understand what a urinary tract infection is, we must first understand the urinary tract and the organs that comprise it.
The urinary tract organs are meant to extract, hold, and transport waste from your system in the form of urine. They 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 you feel the need to pee. The body involuntarily contracts the muscles that line the bladder to urinate.
- The urethra: This tube connects the bladder to the outside of the body. When you pee, a muscle called the urinary sphincter relaxes as your bladder contracts to remove urine from your body.
The urethra and bladder make up the lower urinary tract, and the ureters and kidneys the upper urinary tract. A bacterial infection in any of these four areas is considered a UTI. This includes both bladder and kidney infections.
How Accurate Are Uti Test Methods
There are two standard ways to conduct a UTI test:
Despite being the global standards for UTI testing since the 1980s and 1950s respectively, both of these tests are extremely inaccurate.
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Different Types Of Kidney Infections
You can generally classify kidney infections into 3 categories:
- Uncomplicated infections
- Chronic or recurring kidney infections.
Uncomplicated infections are simply those that start as urinary tract infections and spread, causing plenty of pain and discomfort but no long-term damage.
A complicated kidney infection is an infection accompanied by a condition that increases the potential for that infection to become severe and for treatments to become ineffective. This includes obstructions or abnormalities in the urinary system or disorders like diabetes. Complicated pyelonephritis also indicates more severe issues related to the kidneys. This includes the formation of abscesses or obstructions in the kidneys or even enlarged kidneys. Complicated kidney infections come with more severe symptoms and are often less responsive to treatments.
Chronic kidney infections are rare and often caused by birth defects, structural abnormalities, or other preexisting issues. Frequent kidney infections can cause scarring and progressive damage to the kidneys. Thankfully, most cases of chronic pyelonephritis are discovered early in childhood. Most cases of kidney infection are cured with traditional treatments and medications, with little lasting damage to the kidneys or urinary system. Most people wont develop a kidney infection again.
How Are Kidney Infections Treated
A physician will treat the disease based on his or her examination. He or she may start the patient on the standard treatment of a course of antibiotics before the lab tests results are available. The medication may change once the exact strain of bacteria is revealed by the lab tests.
If the treatment is effective, the patient should feel better in two to three days. If not, your healthcare provider will start looking for additional problems. Most antibiotic treatments last for 14 days and it is essential that patients take the pills as recommended for the full 14 days even though symptoms may disappear after a few days. The disappearance of symptoms does not mean all bacteria are killed. Some may remain and the infection may reappear.
There is also a concern that those bacteria that remain may develop resistance to the medication. For some reason the disease is more difficult to treat in men and they may have to take medication for up to six weeks. Patients with severe illness, those that have significant nausea and vomiting, high fevers, significant pain and signs of dehydration may be hospitalized for a few days while the antibiotics are administered intravenously. Urine samples are taken after about six weeks of treatment and examined to insure the bacterial infection is eradicated.
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Causes Of Utis Vs Causes Of Kidney Infection
Your urinary tract is normally well equipped to prevent infections. The regular passage of urine helps to flush pathogens out of the urinary tract.
When bacteria make their way into your urinary tract and begin to multiply, UTIs occur. This can lead to symptoms. These bacteria have often come from your gastrointestinal tract and spread from your anus into your urinary tract.
Women are more likely to develop UTIs than men. This is because the female urethra is shorter than the male urethra and closer to the anus. Bacteria have a shorter distance to travel in order to establish an infection.
Could I Have A Kidney Infection Without A Uti
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How Is A Kidney Infection Treated
Usually antibiotics are prescribed for kidney infections. Which antibiotic your doctor prescribes and for how long is dependant on the severity of your condition and the bacteria found in your urine tests.
Symptoms of a kidney infection often begin clearing up within a few days of treatment. But you should take the entire course of antibiotics to make sure the infection is completely eliminated.
In rare cases, you may require hospitalisation for a severe kidney infection where youll receive antibiotics intravenously. How long youll stay in the hospital will depend on the severity of your condition.
Sometimes an underlying medical problem, such as a kidney abnormality can cause recurrent kidney infections. You may be referred to a kidney specialist or urinary surgeon to determine whether urologic abnormalities may be the cause and whether surgery is needed to repair the abnormality.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
These bacteria are responsible for about 90% of all uncomplicated urinary tract infections. E. coli are found in the colons of humans and animals and in their fecal waste. When E. coli or other bacteria end up in the urethra, they cause a urinary tract infection.
There are other types of bacteria also known to cause UTIs. According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information the most common bacteria to cause UTIs are:
- Escherichia coli
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Streptococcus spp. , Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococci were each found to be the third pathogens in different periods during the two-year study.
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Consume Apples And Apple Juice
Apples are also nutrient-dense. Their high acid content may help the kidneys maintain acidity in the urine, possibly inhibiting further growth of bacteria.
They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial in helping the kidneys heal following the infection.
Use Your Health Insurance Just Like You Normally Would To See Your Doctor
During your UTI treatment, you can take steps to ensure that you get the maximum effect out of your antibiotics while promoting your own comfort.
- Use a heating pad on your abdomen to soothe any pain and discomfort and relieve pressure.
- Drink plenty of water to help flush out the bacteria in your urinary tract.
- Avoid any food and drink that may irritate your urinary system. This includes coffee, alcohol, and sugary sodas that contain citrus juice or caffeine.
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Preventing Urinary Tract Infections And Kidney Infections
Urinary tract infections and kidney infections can generally be prevented through similar means.
If you suffer from any symptoms of a urinary tract or kidney infection, talk to your doctor immediately. The faster you act, the more effective the treatment.
If you experience any symptoms of urinary tract infection or kidney infection, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone or video appointment with a top U.S. doctor today.
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.
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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.
Research And Statistics: How Many People Get Kidney Infections
The Cleveland Clinic estimates that each year between 3 and 7 out of 10,000 people in the United States develop a kidney infection.
Kidney infections are much more common among pregnant women, occurring in about 2 percent of pregnancies.
There are about 100,000 hospital visits for UTIs each year in the United States, most of which are related to kidney infections, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders .
One important area of research for kidney infection is antibiotic resistance when bacteria contain a way to block the effect of the drugs designed to kill them. Currently, guidelines for treating kidney infection recommend adding intravenous antibiotics to oral drugs when a certain percentage of bacteria from a urine sample show signs of resistance.
Treatment for kidney infections has largely stayed the same over the last several years, says Amin S. Herati, MD, an assistant professor of urology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. But, Dr. Herati says, there are some new therapies in the pipeline that are very exciting.
One promising potential treatment on the horizon, says Herati, is bacteriophage therapy, which involves injecting a virus that targets specific bacteria, causing them to burst and die. This approach could be useful for UTIs and kidney infections in which antibiotic resistance is a problem.
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When Should I Go To The Doctor
A kidney infection can develop quite quickly over a few hours or days, so dont wait to see the doctor. Any of the above symptoms of a UTI or kidney infection should trigger a visit to your doctor for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.
A doctor will analyze a sample of your urine. If you test positive for a kidney infection, youll be prescribed oral antibiotics and, in some cases, a medication that helps relieve pain with urination. If treated promptly, a kidney infection shouldnt cause serious harm.
If you experience a fever over 101°F, pain, are unable to drink or take oral medication along with some of the other symptoms, get to the nearest urgent care or ER. For more serious infections, your doctor may keep you in the hospital for observation with IV antibiotics followed by outpatient oral antibiotics.
After completing the full course of prescribed antibiotics, you should feel better. If you dont, talk to your doctor, as you may need another course of antibiotics.