What Is A Kidney Infection
Kidney infections are technically a type of UTI, since kidneys are part of your upper urinary tract, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . These infections are typically caused by bacteria called Escherichia coli that is usually found in the large intestine but can wreak havoc when it finds itself in the urinary tract.
Kidney infections are one of the most common urologic conditions that we see in general urology practice, Fara Bellows, M.D., a urologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. Still, kidney infections are no joke.
This is a serious organ infection, and people need to take care of it, urologist David Kaufman, M.D., of New Yorks Central Park Urology, tells SELF. Bladder infections are really uncomfortable, but kidney infections can be deadly.
Swelling In Hands Or Feet
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and/or hands.
What patients said:
I remember a lot of swelling in my ankles. My ankles were so big I couldn’t get my shoes on.
Going to work one morning, my left ankle was swollen, real swollen, and I was very exhausted just walking to the bus stop. And I knew then that I had to see a doctor.
Fatigue Being Tired All Of The Time
Why this happens:
Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin , or EPO, that tells your body to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less EPO. With fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, your muscles and brain tire very quickly. This is anemia, and it can be treated.
What patients said:
I was constantly exhausted and didn’t have any pep or anything.
I would sleep a lot. I’d come home from work and get right in that bed.
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How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed
The doctor will ask about:
- the symptoms and how long they’ve been going on
- your diet
- whether you could be dehydrated
- whether there’s a family history of kidney stones, or urinary or kidney problems
The doctor will do an exam and probably order:
- urine tests
- kidney function tests
- imaging tests, such as ultrasounds, X-rays, or CT scans. These can show a stone’s exact size and location. This helps doctors decide on the best treatment.
Telltale Signs You Have A Kidney Stone
Most people have two kidneys located behind their abdominal organs along the middle of their back. The purpose of your kidneys is to filter blood and send any waste thats collected into your urine.
Sometimes, these waste products build up and form small, hard deposits called kidney stones. Stones develop inside kidneys, but they exit the body through the urinary tract.
Because the ureter is small, passing a stone can cause complications inside the urinary tract, as well as a range of unpleasant symptoms from abdominal pain to nausea. About 1 in 10 Americans will experience at least one kidney stone in their lifetime, but learning to recognize the telltale signs of a kidney stone isnt always easy especially if youve never had one.
Our team at Advanced Urology in Redondo Beach, Culver City, and Los Angeles, California, is here to help. While small stones might pass without your knowledge, larger stones can cause excruciating pain. Make an appointment at Advanced Urology if you have
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Feeling Faint Dizzy Or Weak
Why this happens:
Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to feeling faint, dizzy, or weak.
What patients said:
I was always tired and dizzy.
It got to the point, like, I used to be at work, and all of the sudden I’d start getting dizzy. So I was thinking maybe it was my blood pressure or else diabetes was going bad. That’s what was on my mind.
Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented
It’s not always possible to prevent some types of kidney stones.
But anyone who’s had kidney stones should:
- Drink a lot of liquids throughout the day. Avoid dark sodas, soft drinks, and sports drinks. If their pee is almost clear, that’s a sign they’re drinking enough. Ask your doctor how much you should drink.
- Limit the salt and protein in their diet.
If dietary changes don’t prevent kidney stones, medicines can help. Depending on the type of kidney stone you had, the doctor can prescribe treatments or medicines to lower the levels of crystal-forming substances in the pee.
Doctors will keep an eye on teens who have had kidney stones and try to prevent new ones. The doctor might have you use a 24-hour urine collection test. This measures the volume of pee within a 24-hour period and checks what’s in it.
Kidney stones aren’t usually a worry for most teens, though it’s always a good idea to eat healthy foods and drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration.
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How Long Do Kidney Stone Symptoms Last
As mentioned, the time frame for these symptoms can be as short as a week or up to a month and beyond. So, even if it feels like your kidney stone pain has subsided, it’s important to reach out to your doctor since sporadic pain is common with this condition.
“While some kidney stones pass on their own, others require treatment such as medications or procedures to help break up the stone or even surgical removal. Your doctor can perform the tests needed to determine whether the stone is likely to pass on its own or if you might need treatment. In addition, your doctor can help you manage the pain associated with passing the stone,” adds Dr. Kannady.
How Common Are Kidney Stones
Each year, more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. It is estimated that one in ten people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives.
The prevalence of kidney stones in the United States increased from 3.8% in the late 1970s to 8.8% in the late 2000s. The prevalence of kidney stones was 10% during 20132014. The risk of kidney stones is about 11% in men and 9% in women. Other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity may increase the risk for kidney stones.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- Do I have a kidney stone or is there another reason for my symptoms?
- What type of kidney stone do I have?
- What size is my kidney stone?
- Where is my kidney stone located?
- How many kidney stones do I have?
- Do I need treatment or will I be able to pass the kidney stone?
- Should I be tested for kidney disease?
- What changes should I make to my diet?
- What type of procedure should I have to get rid of the stones?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Kidney stones can be frustrating at best and agonizingly painful at the worst. To stop your situation from getting worse, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The pain can get severe, and surgery might be necessary. Remember: dont skip your prescriptions, drink lots of water and follow any dietary guidelines. Also, remember that kidney stones are a temporary condition. They wont bother you forever.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2021.
How Does Passing A Kidney Stone Feel
Small stones can pass without any symptoms at all, but larger stones can be a problem.
As long as the stone is in the kidney and not blocking the flow of urine, you probably wont feel it. Eventually, the stone leaves the kidney and enters the ureter on its way to the bladder.
The ureters are tiny, about 1/8 inch wide, so if a stone cant move through, its hard for urine to flow.
This can cause swelling and incredibly painful spasms . Youll feel a sharp, stabbing pain in your side or back, below the ribcage. Pain sometimes radiates to the groin and genitals.
You might find that the intensity of the pain changes as you change position and as the stone continues its journey through your urinary tract. Youll probably find it near impossible to lie still, tossing and turning in an effort to stop the pain. Pain can subside for several hours before returning.
- blood in the urine
The pain tends to ease up once the stone reaches the bladder. If the stone is small, or has broken into small pieces, you may not feel it as it flows from the bladder, through the urethra, and out with the urine.
Stones dont usually block the urethra, since its twice as wide as the ureters, but a larger stone can cause resurgence of pain.
- chills, fever
- imaging tests to check for additional stones or other problems
- 24-hour urine collection
- blood work
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Fever And Chills Along With Your Back Pain
This could also mean that you have a urinary tract infection.
If you have any of these symptoms, along with your back pain, you should call your doctor right away.
If your pain is unbearable, is associated with fevers or chills, or you have nausea and vomiting that is preventing you from keeping down fluids or medications, you should seek immediate medical attention, Nguyen says.
Whats The Urinary Tract How Does It Work
Your urinary tract is vital to your body because it gets rid of waste and extra fluid. Its made up of both your kidneys, two ureters, your bladder and your urethra. Each organ has an important job :
- Kidneys: Your fist-sized, bean-shaped kidneys are located on either side of your spine, below your rib cage. Each day they filter 120 to 150 quarts of your blood to remove waste and balance fluids. Your kidneys make one to two quarts of urine every day.
- Ureters: After your kidney creates urine, the liquid travels through the tube-shaped ureter to the bladder. There is one ureter per kidney. Kidney stones can pass through the ureters or, if theyre too big, get stuck in them. You may require surgery if the stone is too large.
- Bladder: Between your hip bones is your bladder, an organ that stores urine. It stretches to hold about one and a half to two cups.
- Urethra: Like a ureter, your urethra is a tube through which urine passes. Its the final stop of the urinary tract where your urine leaves your body. This is called urination.
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Are Kidney Stones Painful
;Kidney stones can range from being uncomfortable, to extremely painful, and the amount of pain, and location of that pain can change as the stone moves through your urinary tract.;
Why are kidney stones so painful? It makes sense when you think about it. The stone is trying to pass through the tube from the kidney to the bladder, which is extremely small. As the stone enters the tube, it may block urine, causing it to build up and create pressure and pain. In addition, the ureter contracts as the stone moves through it, pushing it closer to the bladder to get rid of it, which also causes pain.
You may feel this pain in the back or sides, where the kidneys are located or, as the stone moves closer to the bladder, you may feel it in your abdomen or groin, and urination may feel painful, much like when you have a urinary tract infection.
Can A Large Kidney Stone Cause An Injury
Your risk of injury from a kidney stone can go up based on the size and location of the stone. A larger stone could get stuck in a ureter, causing pressure to build up. This can lead to renal failure and, in the worst-case scenario, you could lose your kidney. The chance of passing a 1 cm stone is less than 10%, and stones larger than 1 cm typically dont pass.
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Kidney Stones Urine Odor
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Horsetail Juice Provides Relief
Horsetail juice is widely used for kidney stone issues because of its amazing antibacterial and antioxidant properties. In addition to this, horsetail juice also has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the inflammation and provide relief from the pain of kidney stones. Also, horsetail juice significantly improves the volume and flow of urine and thus reduces the chances of urinary issues.
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How Long Does It Take To Pass A Kidney Stone
The amount of time it can take for you to pass a kidney stone is different from anothers. A stone thats smaller than 4 mm may pass within one to two weeks. A stone thats larger than 4 mm could take about two to three weeks to completely pass.
Once the stone reaches the bladder, it typically passes within a few days, but may take longer, especially in an older man with a large prostate. However, pain may subside even if the stone is still in the ureter, so its important to follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont pass the stone within four to six weeks.
Diagnosis Of Urinary Tract Stones
Doctors usually suspect stones in people with renal colic. Sometimes doctors suspect stones in people with tenderness over the back and groin or pain in the genital area without an obvious cause. Finding blood in the urine supports the diagnosis, but not all stones cause blood in the urine. Occasionally, the symptoms and physical examination findings are so distinctive that no additional tests are needed, particularly in people who have had urinary tract stones before. However, most people are in so much pain and have symptoms and findings that make other causes for the pain seem likely enough that testing is necessary to exclude these other causes. Doctors need to differentiate stones from other possible causes of severe abdominal pain, including
Helical CT done without the use of radiopaque contrast material is usually the best diagnostic procedure. CT can locate a stone and also indicate the degree to which the stone is blocking the urinary tract. CT can also detect many other disorders that can cause pain similar to the pain caused by stones. The main disadvantage of CT is that it exposes people to radiation. Still, this risk seems prudent when possible causes include another serious disorder that would be diagnosed by CT, such as an aortic aneurysm or appendicitis. Newer CT devices and methods that limit exposure to radiation are now commonly used.
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What Causes Back Pain And Nausea
Back pain and nausea often occur at the same time. Frequently, pain related to digestive or intestinal issues can radiate to the back. This can occur if you have biliary colic, a condition in which gallstones obstruct the gallbladder.
Morning sickness associated with pregnancy can cause nausea. Back pain is also common with pregnancy, as the weight of the growing fetus puts strain on the back. Often these symptoms arent a cause for concern for pregnant women. However, when nausea occurs after the first trimester, it may be a symptom of preeclampsia, which is a condition in which blood pressure becomes too high. If youre pregnant and experience nausea into your second trimester, seek medical advice.
Other conditions that can cause back pain and nausea include:
- shortness of breath
- worsening symptoms
Make an appointment with your doctor if your back pain continues for more than two weeks after your nausea subsides.
This information is a summary. Seek medical attention if you suspect you need urgent care.
Do Kidney Stones Cause Incontinence
Kidneys stones can sometimes interfere with urination, since they travel down the tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder. This can create blockages, which may make it difficult to pass urine. Kidney stones may also make you feel like you need to urinate more often. You may feel an urgent need to use the bathroom. Sometimes this can lead to leaks if you are unable to make it to a bathroom in time.;
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Not All Stones Are Created Equal
In addition to calcium oxalate stones, another common type of kidney stones is uric acid stones. Red meat, organ meats, and shellfish have high concentrations of a natural chemical compound known as purines. “High purine intake leads to a higher production of uric acid and produces a larger acid load for the kidneys to excrete,” said Dr. Jhagroo. Higher uric acid excretion leads to lower overall urine pH, which means the urine is more acidic. The high acid concentration of the urine makes it easier for uric acid stones to form.
To prevent uric acid stones, cut down on high-purine foods such as red meat, organ meats, and shellfish, and follow a healthy diet that contains mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy products. Limit sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, especially those that contain high fructose corn syrup. Limit alcohol because it can increase uric acid levels in the blood and avoid crash diets for the same reason. Eating less animal-based protein and eating more fruits and vegetables will help decrease urine acidity and this will help reduce the chance for stone formation.