What Is A Kidney Infection
A kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis, is when bacteria or viruses cause problems in one or both of your kidneys. Itâs a type of urinary tract infection .
Your kidneysâ main job is to remove waste and take extra water from your blood. Theyâre part of your urinary tract, which makes liquid waste and removes it from your body. Like the exhaust system on your car, you want everything to work like it should so waste moves in one direction only: out.
Your urinary tract is made up of your:
- Kidneys. These clean waste from your blood and make urine .
- Ureters. These thin tubes, one for each kidney, carry urine to your bladder.
- Bladder. This stores urine.
- Urethra. This tube carries urine from your bladder to outside your body.
If any of these parts gets germs in it, you can get a UTI. Most often, your bladder gets infected first. This can be painful but isnât usually serious.
But if the bad bacteria or viruses travel up your ureters, you can get a kidney infection. If left untreated, a kidney infection can cause life-threatening problems.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Contact your GP if you have a high temperature, persistent pain, or if you notice a change to your usual pattern of urination. Contact your GP immediately if you think your child may have a kidney infection.
If you have blood in your urine, you should always see your GP so the cause can be investigated.
Kidney infections require prompt treatment with antibiotics to help relieve symptoms and prevent complications developing.
Your GP can carry out some simple tests to help diagnose a kidney infection.
See diagnosing kidney infections for more information
For Urinary Tract Infections
Since three of the most common causes of kidney discomfort occur in the urinary tract, here are some remedies to relieve pain in the kidneys related to the urinary tract:
1. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is key to relieving pain in the kidneys since water will help flush bacteria out of the body. Plus, staying hydrated will help clear out the urinary tract as a whole and work to eliminate any possible infections.
Many specialists recommend the 8×8 rule, meaning you should drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day. However, water intake is highly dependant on you and your health, so take this article into consideration when determining your daily amount of water intake.
2. Drink Cranberry Juice
While not scientifically proven, cranberry juice is known to be a remedy for urinary tract infections. If you choose to alternate between cranberry juice and water, be sure to choose a cranberry juice that isnt packed full of additional sweeteners. A cranberry supplement or pure cranberry juice is always the best way to go!
3. Take Probiotics
Its no secret that probiotics are beneficial for you, especially when it comes to fighting bacteria and kidney pain. Studies show that probiotics can improve kidney function and assist in processing waste too.
4. Drink Parsley Juice
You can also mix parsley into a smoothie to make drinking it more bearable. Check out these recipes for inspiration!
5. Take a Warm Epsom Salt Bath
6. Apply Heat
7. Use Non-Aspirin Pain Killers
You May Like: Yerba Mate Kidney Stones
Can Children Get Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are found in children as young as 5 years. In fact, this problem is so common in children that some hospitals conduct ‘stone’ clinics for pediatric patients. The increase in the United States has been attributed to several factors, mostly related to food choices. The two most important reasons are not drinking enough fluids and eating foods that are high in salt. Kids should eat less salty potato chips and French fries. There are other salty foods: sandwich meats, canned soups, packaged meals, and even some sports drinks. Sodas and other sweetened beverages can also increase the risk of stones if they contain high fructose corn syrup.
If you would like more information, please contact us.
Save this content:
How To Relieve Kidney Pain
This article was medically reviewed by Victor Catania, MD. Dr. Catania is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Pennsylvania. He received his MD from the Medical University of the Americas in 2012 and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the Robert Packer Hospital. He is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine.There are 21 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 20 testimonials and 80% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 273,263 times.
Research suggests that if you experience pain in your back between your ribs and your buttocks, or even down your sides into your groin area, you may be having kidney pain.XResearch source Although back pain is not always caused by your kidneys, you should talk to your doctor to make sure you don’t have any serious medical conditions. Experts note that treating your kidney pain will depend on its cause, and your doctor can make the best recommendations for your situation.XResearch source
Read Also: Kidney Transplant Tattoo Ideas
Prevention Of Future Stones
Once your health care provider finds out why you are forming stones, he or she will give you tips on how to prevent them. This may include changing your diet and taking certain medications. There is no “one-size-fits-all” diet for preventing kidney stones. Everyone is different. Your diet may not be causing your stones to form. But there are dietary changes that you can make to stop stones from continuing to form.
Drink enough fluids each day.
If you are not producing enough urine, your health care provider will recommend you drink at least 3 liters of liquid each day. This equals about 3 quarts . This is a great way to lower your risk of forming new stones. Remember to drink more to replace fluids lost when you sweat from exercise or in hot weather. All fluids count toward your fluid intake. But it’s best to drink mostly no-calorie or low-calorie drinks. This may mean limiting sugar-sweetened or alcoholic drinks.
Knowing how much you drink during the day can help you understand how much you need to drink to produce 2.5 liters of urine. Use a household measuring cup to measure how much liquid you drink for a day or two. Drink from bottles or cans with the fluid ounces listed on the label. Keep a log, and add up the ounces at the end of the day or 24-hour period. Use this total to be sure you are reaching your daily target urine amount of at least 85 ounces of urine daily.
Reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
Eat the recommended amount of calcium.
What Analgesics Are Safe For People Who Have Kidney Disease
Acetaminophen is the drug often recommended for occasional use in patients with kidney disease. But everyone with kidney disease should rely on their doctor or other health care professional for a personal recommendation. It is important to know that any drug can be harmful if used at high doses or very frequently. People with kidney disease should also be sure to avoid drinking alcohol while taking pain medicines.
Don’t Miss: Apple Cider Vinegar For Kidney Infection
What Causes Kidney Pain
Kidneys drain urine to the bladder via tubes called ureters. Your bladder is emptied via the urethra. Problems in any of these areas can cause pain, and may be caused by:
- an ultrasound
If you have had kidney stones in the past, it may not always be necessary to have a computed tomography scan, which exposes you to radiation. Ask your doctor if a CT scan is necessary for you. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
Causes Of Kidney Stones
Possible causes include drinking too little water, exercise , obesity, weight loss surgery, or eating food with too much salt or sugar. Infections and family history might be important in some people. Eating too much fructose correlates with increasing risk of developing a kidney stone. Fructose can be found in table sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Read Also: Watermelon And Kidneys
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.
When Should You See A Doctor For Kidney Pain
You should see a doctor any time you experience kidney pain because some causes require treatment and some are very serious. Causes of left- and right-sided kidney pain are typically the same. Doctors who specialize in diagnosing, treating and managing diseases that affect the kidney are nephrologists. Urologists treat conditions affecting the entire urinary tract, but internal medicine doctors and family doctors can also diagnose and treat common causes of kidney pain.
Consider a virtual appointment by phone or video for mild pain and symptoms, because your doctor may diagnose the cause by your symptoms. Sometimes, urine tests, imaging tests, and kidney procedures are necessary to help diagnose the cause, and you will need an in-person appointment.
You May Like: Pineapple Juice And Kidney Stones
What Are The Potential Complications Of Kidney Pain
Because kidney pain can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent kidney damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your healthcare professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:
- Spread of cancer
- Spread of infection
Reducing Kidney Stone Risk
Drinking enough fluid will help keep your urine less concentrated with waste products. Darker urine is more concentrated, so your urine should appear very light yellow to clear if you are well hydrated. Most of the fluid you drink should be water. Most people should drink more than 12 glasses of water a day. Speak with a healthcare professional about the right amount of water that’s best for you. Water is better than soda, sports drinks or coffee/tea. lf you exercise or if it is hot outside, you should drink more. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup should be limited to small quantities.
Eat more fruits and vegetables, which make the urine less acid. When the urine is less acid, then stones may be less able to form. Animal protein produces urine that has more acid, which can then increase your risk for kidney stones.
You can reduce excess salt in your diet. What foods are high in salt? Everyone thinks of salty potato chips and French fries. Those should be rarely eaten. There are other products that are salty: sandwich meats, canned soups, packaged meals, and even sports drinks.
Some herbal substances are promoted as helping prevent stones. You should know that there is insufficient published medical evidence to support the use of any herb or supplement in preventing stones.
- What food may cause a kidney stone?
- Should l take vitamin and mineral supplements?
- What beverages are good choices for me?
Don’t Miss: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Kidney Disease
How To Relieve Kidney Stone Pain
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 88,496 times.
Kidney stones can be extremely painful. If you are dealing with pain caused by kidney stones, there are several things that you can try to help ease kidney stone pain. Make sure that you see a doctor for help treating your kidney stones because kidney stones may become worse without proper medical treatment. Your doctor may recommend some home remedies or prescribe a prescription pain reliever depending on the severity of your kidney stone pain.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies For Kidney Pain:
How to get rid of kidney pain at home? Here are some effective home remedies that are natural, safe and affordable, without any side effects.
You may want to try:
- Heat A heating pad on your abdomen, back or side can help to relieve the symptoms of kidney pain
- Hydration Staying hydrated can help ease kidney pain. Drink plenty of water, but do avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Pain Relief The natural home remedies below can provide pain relief, ease and treat the cause of the kidney pain, while healing, and promoting healthy kidney function.
You May Like: How Much Is Kidney Worth
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
“A kidney stone is a hard mass that’s made up of minerals , certain salts and other byproducts. They can form when these substances accumulate in the area of your kidneys where urine is produced,” explains Dr. Kannady.
Kidney stones can be as small as the point of a pen or as large as a ping pong ball.
“Typically, a person doesn’t start noticing the symptoms of a kidney stone until it moves from the kidney into the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder,” Dr. Kannady adds.
Kidney stone symptoms include:
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen, typically on one side
- A burning sensation or pain while urinating
- Urinating frequently
- Feeling like you’re urinating incompletely or in small amounts
- Urine that is brown, red or pink, which indicates the presence of blood
- Smelly or cloudy urine
- Feeling queasy or nauseous due to the intensity of the pain
- Signs of infection, including fever, chills and vomiting
What Is The Function Of The Kidneys
The excess waste products and excess fluid are removed when the kidneys produce urine that is excreted from the body. Moreover, the kidneys play an important role in the regulation of the body’s salt, potassium, and acid content.
The kidneys also produce hormones that stimulate the production of red blood cells that help regulate blood pressure and help control calcium and electrolyte metabolism in the body.
Also Check: Liver Transplant Tattoo Ideas
Where Are Your Kidneys
Your kidneys are located below your ribs, which is why a problem with these organs can often be felt in your upper back or flank, or side area.
The kidneys perform several important functions for your body, including:
- Removing waste products, excess fluid, and drugs
- Regulating salt, potassium, and acid content
- Producing hormones that control red blood cell production, blood pressure, and more
- Providing vitamin D for bone health
When Should I See My Doctor About Kidney Pain
You should see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Worsening, dull pain in one side of your back or flank
- Body aches, fatigue, fever
- Recent urinary tract infection
If you suddenly experience severe kidney pain, with or without blood in your urine, you should seek emergency medical care. Sudden, severe pain can often be a sign of a blood clot or hemorrhage, and you should be evaluated immediately.
Dr. Rondon says if you notice symptoms like a change in your urines color, a fever, or if your pain doesnt improve, seek a doctor. For emergency situations, you should go to the emergency department. For other situations, contact your primary care physician for a referral to a nephrologist or urologist.
For more information on kidney pain, talk to your doctor or visit the UPMC kidney disease webpage. Do you have flank pain? Check out our article on the 3 Common Causes of Flank Pain to learn more.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 21, 2015, and was last reviewed on October 1, 2019.
Don’t Miss: Does Aleve Hurt Your Kidneys
What Are Treatments For Kidney Pain
Doctors treat kidney pain according to what is causing it. They also want to relieve your symptoms as much as possible. If you are in severe pain, your doctor may prescribe or administer pain medicine while awaiting test results.
Treatment options based on the underlying condition may include:
- For bleeding: Bed rest, medical monitoring and surgery may be necessary for bleeding due to kidney injury or trauma. Medications or changes to an existing prescription may resolve other causes of bleeding
- For blood clot: Medications to break up the clot or surgical procedures to remove it. Maintenance medication may also be necessary to reduce the risk of blood clots
- For hydronephrosis: Treating the underlying cause, such as infection or stones, will often resolve hydronephrosis. A nephrostomy may be necessary to drain the urine from the kidneys.
- For kidney cancer: Surgery to remove the tumor and targeted drugs and procedures to destroy or suppress it
- For kidney infection: Antibiotics for bacterial infections
- For kidney stones: Medications, lithotripsy or surgery to remove the stone
- For polycystic kidney disease: Medications to control blood pressure, relieve pain, and treat infections. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet, nutrition and exercise may help prevent kidney disease complications.
When To See Your Doctor
Kidney pain is almost always a sign that something is wrong with your kidney. You should see your doctor as soon as possible to determine whats causing your pain.
If the condition that has caused kidney pain isnt treated promptly and appropriately, your kidneys can stop working, which is called kidney failure.
Its especially important to see your doctor right away if your pain is severe and started suddenly because this is often caused by a serious problem such as renal vein thrombosis or bleeding into your kidney that needs emergency treatment.
You May Like: Kidney Stone Sonic Blast Treatment