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How Do Kidney Infections Happen

Can Utis Be Prevented

Kidney (Renal) Disease Signs & Symptoms (ex. Peripheral Edema, Fatigue, Itchiness)

A few things can help prevent UTIs. After peeing, girls should wipe from front to back with toilet paper. After BMs, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.

Also, go to the bathroom when needed and don’t hold the pee in. Pee that stays in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.

Keep the genital area clean and dry. Girls should change their tampons and pads regularly during their periods. Bubble baths can irritate the vaginal area, so girls should take showers or plain baths. Avoid long exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits. Wearing underwear with cotton crotches is also helpful. Skip using feminine hygiene sprays or douches, as these can irritate the urethra.

If you are sexually active, go to the bathroom both before and within 15 minutes after sex. After sex, gently wash the genital area to remove any bacteria. Avoid sexual positions that irritate or hurt the urethra or bladder. Couples who use lubrication during sex should use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.

Finally, drinking lots of water each day keeps the bladder active and bacteria-free.

UTIs are uncomfortable and often painful, but they’re common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner you’ll be able to get rid of the problem.

Complications Of A Kidney Infection

If it isnt treated promptly, a kidney infection can lead to a number of potentially serious complications.

Youre more likely to develop a complication from a kidney infection if you have:

  • Prior kidney disease
  • A history of kidney infections
  • A structural abnormality in your urinary tract

The following complications can result from a kidney infection:

High Blood Pressure Your blood pressure can rise to unhealthy levels as your immune system tries to fight your infection.

Kidney Failure If its serious enough, an infection can stop your kidneys from effectively removing waste products from your blood.

Scarring If you develop scars in your kidneys from an infection, your kidneys may not be able to function properly, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease.

Blood Infection One of the main jobs of your kidneys is to filter waste products out of your blood. A kidney infection can spread to your entire bloodstream in this process.

A bloodstream infection can, in turn, lead to sepsis, which is a severe inflammatory reaction to bacteria. Sepsis can be life-threatening.

Renal or Perinephric Abscess If the infection in your kidney is not treated promptly, the bacteria may create an abscess, or pocket of pus, inside or next to your kidney.

Pregnancy Complications A kidney infection during pregnancy raises the risk of low birth weight in your baby.

How Can I Prevent Kidney Infections

The following simple measures can help to prevent kidney infections:

  • Drink plenty of water to flush bacteria out of your urethra and bladder. Drink 1.5 to 2 litres a day and aim for pale yellow urine.
  • Don’t delay peeing avoid ‘holding on’.
  • Make sure your bladder is as empty as possible every time you go.
  • Women should always wipe from the front to the back after going to the toilet.
  • Pee before and soon after sexual intercourse.

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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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What would you do if you had a fever with irritation or pain when you urinate? Would you wait a few days and then make an appointment to see a doctor? Dont wait. Those symptoms might be from a bladder infection. Bladder infections need to be treated. If a bladder infection is not resolved, it may lead to a kidney infection.

Kidney infections are rare, but they can cause a number of problems. Urine is one of the body fluids that normally have no bacteria. When the bladder is infected with bacteria, the bacteria in the bladder can travel up to the kidney. If this happens, you may have pain in the back or side, chills and fever, irritation or pain when urinating, or orangecolored urine . Nausea and vomiting can also occur. Urine is checked for bacteria in several ways. A test of the kidney, such as a scan or an ultrasound may be ordered. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.

Most kidney infections start as bladder infections. Bladder infections usually get better with antibiotics in otherwise healthy people. The goal of antibiotics is to kill the bacteria in the bladder and prevent it from spreading. One dose is not enough you need to finish all of the pills in the prescription to be sure the bacteria are gone. If you still have symptoms when you finish the pills, you should call your doctor. You might need another or a different prescription.

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How Is A Kidney Infection Diagnosed

Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and examine you. If they think you might have a kidney infection, you may be asked to provide a urine sample to test for bacteria, blood or pus. Your doctor may also ask for a blood test that checks for bacteria or other organisms in your blood and a kidney function test. You may also need an ultrasound scan of your kidneys while you are sick or after you have recovered.

Who’s Most Likely To Get A Kidney Infection

Women and children are most at risk of developing a kidney infection, as well as other urinary tract infections such as cystitis.

Other factors can also put you more at risk of developing a kidney infection, including:

  • having a condition that blocks, or obstructs, your urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate children with constipation can also be at an increased risk
  • being born with an abnormality in your urinary tract
  • having a condition that prevents you emptying your bladder fully, such as an injury to your spinal cord this can allow bacteria in your bladder to multiply and spread
  • having a weakened immune system for example, due to type 2 diabetes or as a side effect of chemotherapy
  • having an infection of the prostate gland called prostatitis the infection can spread from the prostate gland into the kidneys
  • having a urinary catheter
  • being female and sexually active sexual intercourse can irritate the urethra and allow bacteria to travel into your bladder
  • being pregnant this can cause physical changes that slow the flow of urine out of your body and make it easier for bacteria to spread to the kidneys
  • having undergone female genital mutilation an illegal practice where a woman’s genitals are deliberately cut or changed for cultural, religious and social reasons

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Drink Plenty Of Liquids

Drinking plenty of liquids, particularly water, will help to wash bacteria from your bladder and urinary tract.

Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry extracts may also help prevent urinary tract infections . However, you should avoid cranberry juice or extracts if you’re taking warfarin, a medicine used to prevent blood clots. Cranberry juice can make the effects of warfarin more potent, so there’s a risk of excessive bleeding.

Kidney Infection Versus Uti: Whats The Difference

Pyelonephritis (Kidney Infection) | Causes, Pathophysiology, Signs & Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Kidney infections are a type of UTI, but its often more aggressive because the bladder infection has spread further up the urinary tract. So, if you hold off on seeking treatment, things can maybe start to get dicey. This is a serious organ infection and people need to take care of it, David Kaufman, MD, a urologist at New Yorks Central Park Urology, tells SELF. Bladder infections are uncomfortable, but kidney infections can be deadly.

As for how long it takes for a bladder infection to turn into a kidney infection? Theres no one-size-fits-all answer, but once infection-causing bacteria make their way from the bladder up into the kidneys, a persons symptoms can start to intensify very suddenly.

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Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics Long

While there are some common side effects and risk for creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it is safe to take antibiotics preventively under the guidance of your physician.

If you have recurring UTIs , you may benefit from a low-dose prophylactic antibiotic, Dr. Sussman said. Some may require intermittent treatment at the sign of symptoms, while others may require a single dose after sexual intercourse or when symptoms occur. However, its important you discuss the underlying causes with your doctor before being prescribed antibiotics prophylactically.

What Is The Urinary Tract

The urinary tract consists of:

  • Kidneys: The majority of humans have two kidneys, one on either side of the abdomen. Kidneys remove poisonous substances from the blood.
  • Ureters: Urine passes from the kidneys to the bladder through tubes called ureters. Each kidney has one ureter connecting it to the bladder.
  • Bladder: This is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine.
  • Urethra: A tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. In males, the urethra travels down the middle of the penis to an opening at the end. In females, the urethra runs from the bladder to just above the vaginal opening. The urethra in females is shorter than in males.

their urine tested. The usual course of treatment for a kidney infection is antibiotics, though some people require other forms of treatment.

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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.

Different Types Of Kidney Infections

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You can generally classify kidney infections into 3 categories:

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 won√Ęt develop a kidney infection again.

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What Are The Causes Of Kidney Infections

Normally, bacteria are flushed out by the flow of urine. However, several problems can increase the risk of a kidney infection. These problems can include:

  • Structural abnormalities blocking urine flow.
  • An enlarged prostate gland compressing the urethra.
  • Backflow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys.
  • If your immune system is affected .
  • Pregnancy, during which time the enlarging uterus can squeeze the ureters and reduce the flow of urine, allowing the bacteria to migrate to the kidneys.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.

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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What Can I Do To Help Prevent My Child From Getting A Kidney Infection

If you suspect your child has a UTI, get them prompt medical treatment to help prevent the UTI from turning into a kidney infection. Here are some tips for preventing UTIs.

While preventative antibiotics have been found to reduce the number of recurrent UTIs, there isnt any evidence that their use decreases the risk of kidney infection or scarring. Uncircumcised boys that are less than one year old are ten times more likely to get UTIs than circumcised boys, but by age two the risk decreases and circumcision does not have an effect on infection rates.

How Are Utis Treated

Acute pyelonephritis (urinary tract infection) – causes, symptoms & pathology

UTIs are treated with antibiotics. After several days of antibiotics, your doctor may repeat the urine tests to be sure that the infection is gone. It’s important to make sure of this because an incompletely treated UTI can come back or spread.

If someone has a lot of pain from a UTI, the doctor may recommend a medicine to help relieve the spasm and pain in the bladder. This will turn pee a bright orange color, but it’s harmless and will usually make a person much more comfortable within hours. In the case of a kidney infection, a doctor may prescribe pain medicine.

If you’ve finished all the medicine or if your symptoms aren’t much better after 2 to 3 days of treatment, contact your doctor.

Drink lots of water during and after treatment because each time you pee, the bladder cleanses itself a little bit more. Cranberry juice may also be helpful. Skip drinks that containe caffeine , such as soda and iced tea.

People who get a doctor’s help for a UTI right away should be clear of symptoms within a week. Someone with a more severe infection may need treatment in a hospital so they can get antibiotics by injection or IV .

A doctor may tell people with UTIs to avoid sex for a week or so, which lets the inflammation clear up completely.

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Can Kidney Infection Be Prevented

Most kidney infections are caused by germs travelling up from a bladder infection. So the same things that can help to reduce your chances of bladder infection should reduce your chances of kidney infection. Traditionally, people who got recurring urine infections were advised about measures such as drinking plenty of fluid and taking cranberry juice, and on the way that they wiped themselves after going to the toilet. However, there is little evidence for any of these measures and they are now not usually advised. Anything which increases your risk of urine infections which can be treated, should be treated. For example, any constipation should be treated promptly, as constipation can increase your chances of a bladder or kidney infection. See the separate leaflet called Constipation for more details. Doctors will try to treat anything else which might be contributing, such as kidney stones or an abnormality in the structure of the urinary system.

Pregnant women are regularly tested for urine infections and for germs in their urine. Even if they don’t have symptoms, if urine tests positive for germs, pregnant women are usually treated with antibiotics to prevent any complications.

In some cases people who have recurring urine infections are treated with a low dose of antibiotic continually. This may help to prevent recurrences and to prevent spread to the kidney.

Further reading and references

Is It A Kidney Infection Or Something Else

Your symptoms could also result from another common illness. Some similar conditions you may mistake for a kidney infection include:

  • Other UTIs. Other types of UTIs, such as those affecting the urethra and bladder, can also cause symptoms like urgent and painful urination, abdominal pain, and urine thats cloudy, foul-smelling, or bloody.
  • Kidney stones.Kidney stones are hard deposits of materials like calcium or uric acid that form in the kidneys. When they become lodged in the kidneys, they can cause pain in the abdomen, side, or back, as well as nausea and vomiting.
  • Lower back pain. If low back pain is your primary symptom, you may have a condition thats affecting your lower back. Examples include injuries, degenerative disc disease, and nerve compression.
  • Pregnancy. Symptoms like frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal cramping can all be early signs of pregnancy.

Its always a good rule of thumb to seek medical attention if you experience any new or concerning symptoms. A healthcare professional can work with you to determine what may be causing them.

Heres an idea of what you can expect when you seek care for a possible kidney infection.

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