Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Infections
The symptoms of kidney infections depend on age, but in general, it starts with symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection, such as discomfort when urinating and frequent urination. Then, once the infection reaches the kidneys, there will be more serious symptoms, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Painful and frequent urination: The infection can cause irritation and swelling in the urinary tract which makes urination painful and makes you think you need to urinate more.
- Blood in urine: Red blood cells in your urine might only be seen when checked under a microscope, but in some cases, the urine is visibly pink, red, or brown. This means that the filters in the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract are allowing blood to leak into the urine.
Young children under two may only have a high fever without any other symptoms. People above the age of 65 may not have typical symptoms but may seem confused, have muddled speech, or hallucinate.
If left untreated, kidney infections can result in serious complications. Kidney failure can result from the infection. A kidney infection can also cause , an adverse reaction to infection in your bloodstream, which can lead to organ failure and death.
Kidney Stones And Food
If you have kidney stones, that can lead to a kidney infection, Harvard Health reports. There are some dietary changes you can make if you think food is the cause of your kidney stone. If you get a kidney stone, you should check with your doctor in order to get the best prescription for treatment.
There are some foods to avoid for kidney health if you are prone to kidney stones, however. You should discuss these options with your doctor first. According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors recommend the following dietary changes to prevent future kidney stones:
- Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods if you are prone to calcium oxalate stones. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate and soy foods.
- Eat a diet low in salt and animal protein. Consider using a salt substitute and getting your protein from legumes and other plant-based sources.
- Use caution with calcium supplements. The calcium in food, on the other hand, doesn’t affect your risk of kidney stones. Again, check with your doctor if you take calcium supplements.
- Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian who can develop an eating plan that will reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.
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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.
Having a weak immune system. Having an underlying medical condition like diabetes or HIV, or using medications that tamp down on your immune system, can increase your risk.
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.
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Consume Apples And Apple Juice
Apples are also nutrient-dense. Their high acid content may help the kidneys to 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 to heal following the infection. Learn more about the many health benefits of apples.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Why do you think I got a kidney infection?
- How much water should I drink every day to stay hydrated?
- What is the best medicine for me to treat my kidney infection?
- Once I start medicine, how long will it take for my symptoms to go away?
- Since Ive had one kidney infection, am I likely to get another?
- What is the risk of a kidney infection leading to chronic kidney disease?
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Kidney Infection Risk Factors
Anyone can get a kidney infection. But just as women get more bladder infections than men, they also get more kidney infections.
A womanâs urethra is shorter than a manâs, and itâs closer to their vagina and anus. That means itâs easier for bacteria or viruses to get into a womanâs urethra, and once they do, itâs a shorter trip to the bladder. From there, they can spread to the kidneys.
Pregnant women are even more likely to get bladder infections. This is because of hormone changes and because a baby puts pressure on the motherâs bladder and ureters and slows the flow of urine.
Any problem in your urinary tract that keeps pee from flowing as it should can raise your chances of a kidney infection, such as:
- A blockage in your urinary tract, like a kidney stone or enlarged prostate
- Conditions that keep your bladder from completely emptying
- A problem in the structure of your urinary tract, like a pinched urethra
- Vesicoureteral reflux , which is when pee flows backward from your bladder toward your kidneys
Youâre also more likely to get an infection if you have:
- A weakened immune system, as with type 2 diabetes
Prevent Recurrent Kidney Infections
Many kidney infections are caused by bacteria spreading from the bladder to the kidneys. Hence, simply reduce your chances of having a bladder infection to reduce your chances of having an infection of the kidney. Traditional preventive measures to reduce urinary infection include drinking sufficient amount of fluids, drinking cranberry juice and wiping from front towards back after going to toilet. Any problem that increases your chances of having a urinary infection such as constipation should be treated promptly. Any other problem which may be contributing such as kidney stones or a structural abnormality should also be treated.
Regular urine tests are done on pregnant females to test for infection. Even if there is no symptom and their urine shows bacteria, pregnant females are usually given antibiotics for prevention of any complications.
Some patients who have recurrent urinary infections are given a low dose of antibiotics on a continuous basis for kidney infection recovery. This helps in the prevention of recurrent infections and also prevents spread of infection to the kidneys.
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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.
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
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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.
What Is A Urinalysis
A urinalysis is a simple test that looks at a small sample of your urine. It can help find problems that need treatment, including infections or kidney problems. It can also help find serious diseases in the early stages, like kidney disease, diabetes, or liver disease. A urinalysis is also called a urine test.
A urine test can include three parts:
A urinalysis can help to detect many diseases before you feel symptoms. Finding and treating a problem early can help keep serious diseases from getting worse.
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What Are Possible Complications
Most people make a complete recovery with just antibiotics. However, there can be complications. These include, for instance:
- Additionally, pregnant women may experience premature birth or have babies with lower birth weight.
- Kidney abscess
- Lastly, permanent damage to kidney tissues to ensue.
Of note, these complications are more likely if the infection is severe. Also, its more prevalent in those who with existing kidneys problems, too. In addition, people immunocompromised from chemotherapy or AIDS are also prone to developing complications. Lastly, pregnant women, elderly people, and those with poorly controlled diabetes could also be at risk of developing complications.
A rare complication is emphysematous pyelonephritis. This is when the kidney tissues are rapidly destroyed. This complication seems mostly to affect people who have poorly controlled diabetes.
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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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:
What Are The Common Symptoms Of A Kidney Infection
If you have the following symptoms which are similar to basic urinary tract infection symptoms visit a nearby urgent care to treat the infection in a timely manner.
- Frequent or urgent, painful urination
- Cloudy, bad smelling, or bloody urine
- Abdominal pain
- Pressure in the pelvis
- This could also be a sign of a bladder infection.
Our Lakway, TX and Colorado Springs, CO urgent care facilities are fully equipped to help you treat your kidney infection symptoms. For late-night kidney infection symptoms, our 24-hour emergency room locations throughout Texas are also available to serve you.
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What Is The Urinary Tract
The urinary tract consists of:
- The kidneys: The majority of humans have two kidneys, one on either side of the abdomen. Kidneys clear poisonous substances from the blood.
- The ureters: Urine passes from the kidneys to the bladder through tubes called ureters. Each kidney has one ureter connecting it to the bladder.
- The bladder: This is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine.
- The 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.
What Does A Kidney Infection Feel Like
Generally speaking, the symptoms of a kidney infection tend to come on over a period of several hours to a day. The symptoms may include:
- Pain. This is often a dull, aching type of pain that most commonly affects the back, side, or abdomen.
- Urine changes. If you have a kidney infection, you may notice that your urine is cloudy, smells bad, or contains blood.
- Urgent, painful urination. A UTI can irritate the lining of your urinary tract. As a result, you may feel the urgent need to urinate and experience a painful, burning sensation when you do so.
- Fever. People with a kidney infection typically develop a fever, which can often be high. A raised temperature is one of your bodys ways of trying to fight the infection.
- Chills.Chills are a feeling of being cold without any apparent cause. For example, you could be wrapped up under a blanket and still shiver or feel very cold. In extreme cases, chills may lead to episodes of strong, uncontrollable shaking, which are known as rigors.
- Nausea or vomiting. The infection may cause you to feel nauseated or to vomit.
Its important to note that you may not have all of the above symptoms with a kidney infection. If you develop concerning symptoms that may point to a kidney infection, seek prompt medical care.
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When Should You Go To The Hospital For A Kidney Infection
Kidney infection is a potentially hazardous illness. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent potentially permanent loss of kidney function. If you notice kidney infection symptoms such as pain in your side, fever, or nausea, see a doctor immediately. If you canât make an appointment with your regular doctor, do not hesitate to visit urgent care or an emergency room.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
E.coli bacteria account for about 80% of urinary tract infections, which eventually lead to chronic kidney infections.
Tea tree essential oil is considered as a great remedy against the E.coli bacteria.
Although it is rich in anti-inflammatory and antiseptic compounds, a 2006 study has confirmed the presence of antimicrobial properties as well.
A study was published in 2002. It shows tea tree oil has preventive effects against E.coli.
Another study was published in the Journal of Applied Bacteriology Banner. It states that tea tree can neutralize the bacteria.
You can use this oil for both massage and bath to soothe infection.
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Effective Home Remedies For Kidney Infection
A kidney infection is a bacterial infection that occurs in one or both of your kidneys. Also known as pyelonephritis or renal infection, it starts as a bladder infection or urinary tract infection that eventually affects your kidneys.
Kidney infection happens when a bacteria called Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, attacks the lower part of your urinary tract and then spreads to the upper section.
This is a serious medical condition and requires immediate treatment. Some home remedies for kidney infection may also help reduce the symptoms.
Remember, these natural remedies are the complementary treatment that may help you to get rid of the pain and discomfort. You need to seek medical attention if the condition becomes severe.
This article looks into some natural home remedies that may help soothe the symptoms of kidney infection.