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.
How Long Does A Uti Last
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If you have a UTI, its best to get it treated right away before any complications develop . Its possible for a UTI to get better on its own, but most of the time, it wont. While home remedies can help ease some of the discomfort, a doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic that is a much quicker and more effective treatment. An antibiotic will start working immediately and, depending on how complicated your UTI is, may clear it up in a matter of days. Be sure to always take your medication how your doctor prescribes.
Ok So How Do I Make Sure I Never Get A Uti Or A Kidney Infection
As they say, prevention is the best cure! And there are many things you can do to ensure that youre reducing your risk for an infection, and preventing build up from occurring in the kidneys.
Practice good hygiene. Always wipe from front to back, keep your genital area clean, wash before and after sex. Basically, do your best to keep bacteria from even having a chance of getting into the urinary system in the first place.
Drink lots of water. If youre dehydrated, youre not only increasing your chance of a UTI, but youre also decreasing your urine output, meaning that more minerals have a chance to build up and settle in the urinary tract or kidneys.
Make sure to urinate whenever you feel you have to go. Dont hold it in. This concentrates the urine allowing bacteria to build up and spread.
Alter your diet if you find youre prone to kidney stones. Cut down on certain meats and shellfish and opting instead for more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid consuming too much sugar. Cut back on sodium, and eat more oxalate-rich foods .
And if you do start experiencing any of the symptoms above, be sure to see a doctor right away. UTIs, kidney infections, and kidney stones can usually be treated fairly easily, but its important to seek medical attention before any complications develop.
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Medication Options For Kidney Infection
Your doctor will decide what antibiotic to prescribe, and for how long, based on your symptoms and the results of your urine tests. Your doctor may start you on one medication right away, but change it later if your urine test results indicate that a different antibiotic will be more effective.
Drugs taken by mouth for kidney infection include:
All of these drugs and others may be considered for IV treatment if you need to be hospitalized for a severe kidney infection.
Causes And Risk Factors Of A Kidney Infection
Kidney infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses that spread in your urinary tract, but bacterial infections are much more common.
In fact, about 90 percent of kidney infections are caused by a single type of bacteria, Eschericia coli, or E. coli, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The infection is thought to occur from bacteria that travel from your gastrointestinal tract to your skin surface, through your urethra to your bladder, then through the tubes that connect your bladder and kidneys.
Normally, urine flushes any potentially harmful bacteria out of your ureters before they can cause an infection. But sometimes this doesnt happen due to the following conditions:
- Structural abnormalities in your ureters or kidneys
- Enlarged prostate
- Urine backflow from your bladder to your kidneys
Its also possible for bacteria from your bloodstream to enter your kidneys and cause an infection. This happens most commonly with staphylococcus, or staph, bacteria.
Kidney infections that spread from your bloodstream tend to develop after surgery or as a consequence of another infection elsewhere in the body. For example, if an artificial joint or heart valve becomes infected, the kidneys can become secondarily infected.
Its very uncommon for kidney surgery to lead to a kidney infection.
A number of factors can increase your risk of developing a kidney infection:
This reduced urine flow can make it easier for bacteria in your bladder to migrate into your kidneys.
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Am I More Likely To Get Kidney Infections If Im Pregnant
Pregnancy can increase your chances of developing a kidney infection.
This is because pregnancy enlarges your uterus, and puts a lot of pressure on the tubes that carry pee from your kidneys to your bladder .
This can stop you from getting rid of all of your pee, and allows dangerous bacteria to grow close to your kidneys.
Pregnancy can also reduce the muscle movements that push urine down to the kidneys, which can lead to urine moving back up your ureters and into the kidneys.
How Are Utis Diagnosed
Only a health care provider can treat urinary tract infections. The first thing a doctor will do is confirm that a person has a UTI by taking a clean-catch urine specimen. At the doctor’s office, you’ll be asked to clean your genital area with disposable wipes and then pee into a sterile cup.
The sample may be used for a urinalysis or a urine culture . Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best treatment.
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Medical Treatment For Kidney Infections
Antibiotics are always the first line of defense against a kidney infection. If the kidney infection isnt severe, a doctor will likely give you oral antibiotics to take once or twice a day for 10 to 14 days.
Its important to take the entire course of antibiotics, even if you feel better within several days, as stopping early could lead to antibiotic resistance or re-infection. A doctor will also encourage you to drink plenty of water.
In some cases, kidney infections may require admission to the hospital. Youll be given fluids and antibiotics intravenously through an IV, both of which can help treat the infection.
In addition, lab work and imaging may be done to determine the severity of infection as well as the cause, such as a blockage due to a kidney stone or anatomical abnormality.
If you have recurring UTIs that increase your risk of frequent kidney infections, a doctor will help you establish the cause of their frequency and help you prevent further infections from occurring.
How Are Utis Treated
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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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.
Can You Prevent Kidney Infections
Prevention of urinary tract and kidney infection primarily focuses on reducing the associated risk factors. As mentioned earlier, the majority of urinary tract infections are caused by the bacteria gaining entry into the urinary system through the urethra. Therefore, personal hygiene plays an important role in preventing kidney infection.
Examples of preventative measures include:
- Emptying the bladder after sexual intercourse or wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom may significantly reduce the chance of developing kidney infection in women.
- Drinking plenty of fluids has been shown to be the single most effective measure for preventing urinary tract infections.
- In individuals with long-standing urinary catheters, routinely scheduled changing of the catheter as well as regular cleaning around the catheter’s entry into the urethra are important steps in prevention of urinary tract infections.
- If kidney stones are the predisposing factor to repeated kidney infections, the removal of the stone and preventing future stones from forming may be necessary. These individuals may be referred to a specialist for further evaluation and removal of kidney stones.
- Cranberries and cranberry juice can be beneficial in preventing kidney infections. It is important to note that cranberries may not treat an existing kidney infection, but have been found to be a simple preventive measure in addition to the other measures listed above.
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Frequency Of Urinary Intake
Youâll feel like you need to go 20 times per day. In addition, your bladder will be irritated and you will have to go to the toilet only a few times. The bladder is designed to hold a lot of urine. However, if your bladder becomes irritated from an infection, you will feel like you need to go every day.
Infections Can Also Be Caused By:
- Kidney stones, enlarged prostates, and other conditions that obstruct the urinary tract, preventing proper emptying of urine from the body
- Spinal cord injury and other conditions that prevent you from properly emptying your bladder
- Menopause or medications that alter the hormones in your body, thus changing the bacterial environment in your urinary tract system
- Any condition that suppresses the immune system
- Certain sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma
In rare cases, a virus or fungus can cause UTIs.
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Prevention Of A Kidney Infection
Preventing kidney infections usually starts with preventing UTIs in the lower urinary tract. Steps you can take to help prevent UTIs include:
- Drink lots of water throughout the day.
- Urinate when you feel the urge to do so dont wait.
- After using the toilet, wipe from front to back so you don’t spread bacteria from your anus to your urethra.
- Urinate after having sex.
- Dont use unnecessary cleansing or deodorizing products in the genital area.
- Steer clear of birth control methods that can raise the risk of a UTI.
If you do develop a UTI, get it treated as soon as possible. See your primary healthcare provider for treatment, or visit an urgent-care facility for diagnosis and a prescription for antibiotics.
Treating a UTI promptly may prevent it from spreading from your bladder to your kidneys.
Duration Of Kidney Infection
A kidney infection usually starts out as a urinary tract infection that affects the bladder. Theres no rule for how long it takes a UTI to spread from your bladder to your kidneys.
If left untreated, a kidney infection may not resolve on its own, potentially becoming a severe infection or leading to a chronic or recurrent infection, notes the Mayo Clinic.
When treated with antibiotics, you may start to feel better two to three days after starting the drug. Its important, though, to continue your treatment for the entire course thats prescribed.
For a mild kidney infection, treatment can last 7 to 14 days. It may take a week or longer for your symptoms to resolve with treatment.
A severe or complicated kidney infection may take much longer to treat, depending on how far the infection has spread and what other complications it has caused, according to MedlinePlus.
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How Are Kidney Infections Diagnosed
Two common laboratory tests are performed to diagnose kidney infections . A urine sample is examined under a microscope to determine if white and/or red blood cells are present. The urine is also sent to the lab to see if bacteria grow in a urine culture. If a person is very sick, blood cultures may also be sent. The strain of bacteria that are cultured will determine the type of therapy used in your treatment.
Pyelonephritis can often be treated without X-ray studies, unless your doctor suspects there may be an addition problem. CT scans produce images of structures and organs and these scans are usually done without contrast . A renal ultrasound may sometimes suffice for evaluation.
Can Utis Be Prevented
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.
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Bipoc Communities And Kidney Infection
While many diseases affect different populations in the United States at different rates, there isnt much information available on the relative risk of kidney infection among different racial and ethnic groups.
Its well known that Black Americans are at higher risk for kidney failure than any other group 4 times as likely as white Americans, according to the National Kidney Foundation. But kidney infection rarely leads to kidney failure, accounting for a tiny sliver of cases.
There is some evidence that the risk of getting a UTI during pregnancy which can develop into a kidney infection is different for different groups, according to earlier research published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.
Looking at records of 24,000 births, researchers found that rates of UTI during pregnancy were 28.7 percent for white and Asian women, 30.1 percent for Black women, and 41.1 percent for Hispanic women. However, once the researchers controlled for socioeconomic differences, there were no significant differences between the groups.
Key Points About Kidney Infection
See your GP or go to the nearest emergency department immediately if you or someone you care for experiences any of these symptoms, as they may indicate sepsis:
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If you have been given antibiotics and are feeling worse or have more of the symptoms above, contact your GP or go to the nearest emergency department. Do not wait until the morning.
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