Causes Of Kidney Infections
A kidney infection happens when bacteria infects your kidneys. The bacteria are usually a type called E. coli, which live in your bowel.
The bacteria get in through the opening of the urethra and move upwards through your urinary tract, first infecting your bladder and then your kidneys.
It’s thought the bacteria can get into your urinary tract by accidentally spreading from your anus to your urethra. This can happen if you wipe your bottom after going to the toilet and the soiled toilet paper comes into contact with your genitals. It can also happen during sex.
In rare cases, a kidney infection can develop if bacteria or fungi infect the skin and the infection spreads through your bloodstream into your kidney. However, this type of infection usually only occurs in people with weakened immune systems.
Can A Uti Be A Sign Of Cancer Or Other Problems
If you have more than three UTIs in a year, you should be evaluated by a urologist. When infections occur in rapid succession, it can be a sign of an underlying problem with bladder or kidney drainage. Sometimes, when no specific cause is found, a low dose daily preventive antibiotic is used to prevent infection over a period of months. Dr. Mindrup
The vast majority of UTIs are not a sign of a serious disease. Yet when they keep coming back, you should see a doctor. They will rule out other causes such as kidney stones, poor drainage of the kidney or bladder, or tumors, all of which are rare causes of UTI.
In rare instances, recurrent UTIs can lead to a life threatening condition called urosepsis or bladder cancer.
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed
Your doctor will use the following tests to diagnose a urinary tract infection:
- Urinalysis: This test will examine the urine for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. The number of white and red blood cells found in your urine can actually indicate an infection.
- Urine culture: A urine culture is used to determine the type of bacteria in your urine. This is an important test because it helps determine the appropriate treatment.
If your infection does not respond to treatment or if you keep getting infections over and over again, your doctor may use the following tests to examine your urinary tract for disease or injury:
- Ultrasound: In this test, sound waves create an image of the internal organs. This test is done on top of your skin, is painless and doesnt typically need any preparation.
- Cystoscopy: This test uses a special instrument fitted with a lens and a light source to see inside the bladder from the urethra.
- CT scan: Another imaging test, a CT scan is a type of X-ray that takes cross sections of the body . This test is much more precise than typical X-rays.
Also Check: Is Mulberry Good For Kidneys
What Conditions Are Related To Recurrent Utis
Recurrent UTIs sometimes happen along with other conditions, such as:
- vesicoureteral reflux , which is found in 30%50% of kids diagnosed with a UTI. In this congenital condition, pee flows backward from the bladder to the ureters. Ureters are thin, tube-like structures that carry pee from the kidney to the bladder. Sometimes the pee backs up to the kidneys. If it’s infected with bacteria, it can lead to pyelonephritis.
- hydronephrosis, which is an enlargement of one or both kidneys due to backup or blockage of urine flow. It’s usually caused by severe VUR or a blocked ureter. Some kids with hydronephrosis might need to take daily low doses of antibiotics to prevent UTIs until the condition producing hydronephrosis gets better or is fixed through surgery.
But not all cases of recurrent UTIs can be traced back to these body structure-related problems. For example, dysfunctional voiding when a child doesn’t relax the muscles properly while peeing is a common cause of UTIs. Not peeing often enough also can also increase a child’s risk for recurrent infections. Both dysfunctional voiding and infrequent urination can be associated with constipation.
Rarely, unrelated conditions that harm the body’s natural defenses, such as diseases of the immune system, also can lead to recurrent UTIs. Use of a nonsterile urinary catheter can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract and also cause an infection.
What Can You Do If You Keep Getting Utis
If you keep getting UTIs, you must talk to your doctor. After talking with you, your doctor will either recommend treatments for recurring urinary infections or send you to a special doctor called a urologist. A urologist focuses on diseases and problems of the entire urinary system, so he may be able to better pinpoint what is causing your infections and how to treat and prevent them.In addition to the tips mentioned above, you can also take some other simple steps to help prevent UTIs, such as:
- Drink plenty of water.
Read Also: Is Honey Good For The Kidneys
Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones do not constantly cause symptoms. When theyre small, they may pass on their own without pain. However, big stones might obstruct urine circulation, which can cause a number of painful symptoms that can be severe.
This can happen when a kidney stone ends up being stuck in the ureter, which is the tube that connects your bladder to your kidneys. However, the size of the stone does not constantly represent the intensity of the pain.
In some cases, a kidney can lodge in a specific area in your kidney and cause discomfort. The pain a kidney stone causes can differ as it moves around in your kidney and down the ureter.
Reasons Why You Might Get Recurring Utis
Many women who get a urinary tract infection may get one again at some point in their lives. In fact, one in five women experience recurrent UTIsan infection that occurs two times or more within six months or at least three times in a year. Men can get recurrent UTIs too, but it is not as common and is often due to some type of urinary tract blockage.
Read Also: Is Advil Toxic To Kidneys
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Infection
If you have a kidney infection, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain in your back, side or groin
- Feeling like you have to urinate often, even if you just went
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Pus or blood in your urine
- Cloudy or bad-smelling urine
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider as soon as possible. If you are currently taking medicine to treat a urinary tract infection , but you are still having any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider.
If your health care provider thinks you might have a kidney infection, he or she might ask you for a urine sample to look or bacteria or other signs of infection. You might also need to have a blood test or imaging tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Utis
Symptoms of a UTI can include:
- pain when peeing
- changes in frequency of urination
- changes in appearance or smell of pee
- lower abdominal pain
- lower back pain or discomfort
UTIs also can cause kids to wet their pants or the bed, even if they haven’t had these problems before. Infants and very young children may only show nonspecific signs, such as fever, vomiting, or decreased appetite or activity.
Read Also: The Functional Units Of The Kidneys Are
Symptoms Of Kidney Infection
Symptoms of pyelonephritis often begin suddenly with chills, fever, pain in the lower part of the back on either side, nausea, and vomiting.
About one third of people with pyelonephritis also have symptoms of cystitis , including frequent, painful urination. One or both kidneys may be enlarged and painful, and doctors may find tenderness in the small of the back on the affected side. Sometimes the muscles of the abdomen are tightly contracted. Irritation from the infection or the passing of a kidney stone can cause spasms of the ureters. If the ureters go into spasms, people may experience episodes of intense pain . In children, symptoms of a kidney infection often are slight and more difficult to recognize. In older people, pyelonephritis may not cause any symptoms that seem to indicate a problem in the urinary tract. Instead, older people may have a decrease in mental function , fever, or an infection of the bloodstream .
In chronic pyelonephritis, the pain may be vague, and fever may come and go or not occur at all.
When To See A Doctor
Its always a good idea to reach out to a doctor if youre experiencing those UTI symptoms, because remember, UTIs can affect the kidneys without prompt treatment. But this is especially important if youre susceptible to recurrent UTIs. As you can see, there are various treatment optionsand potential preventive methodsthat may be able to keep that terrible burning to a minimum.
Additional reporting by Laura Adkins.
Read Also: Can Pop Cause Kidney Stones
How Can I Take Care Of Myself
- Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment. Take all of the antibiotic that your healthcare provider prescribes, even when you feel better. Do not take medicine left over from previous prescriptions.
- Drink more fluids, especially water, to help flush bacteria from your system.
- If you have a fever:
- Take aspirin or acetaminophen to control the fever. Check with your healthcare provider before you give any medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates to a child or teen. This includes medicines like baby aspirin, some cold medicines, and Pepto Bismol. Children and teens who take aspirin are at risk for a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
- Keep a daily record of your temperature.
What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms usually bacteria that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Though a UTI most commonly happens in the urethra and bladder, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect your kidneys.
More than 90% of bladder infection cases are caused by E. coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines.
Don’t Miss: Is Grape Juice Good For Kidney Stones
How Does It Occur
Normally the urinary tract does not have any bacteria or other organisms in it. Bacteria that cause UTI often spread from the rectum to the urethra and then to the bladder or kidneys. Sometimes bacteria spread from another part of the body through the bloodstream to the urinary tract. Urinary tract infection is less common in men than in women because the male urethra is long, making it difficult for bacteria to spread to the bladder.
Urinary tract infection may be caused by a sexually transmitted disease. Sometimes a stone in the urinary tract blocks the flow of urine and causes an infection. In older men, an enlarged prostate can cause a urinary tract infection by keeping urine from draining out of the bladder completely. Infection might also be caused by the use of a catheter used to drain the bladder or by urethral stricture, which is a narrowing of the urethra by scar tissue from previous infections or surgical procedures.
You may be more likely to have a UTI if you have diabetes or another medical problem that affects the immune system.
Pain Typically Comes And Goes In Waves Which Is Intensified By The Ureters Contracting As They Try To Push The Kidney Stone Out
Kidney stones are understood to cause extreme pain that usually comes and goes several times a day. Symptoms of kidney stones may not appear till the stone begins to move down the ureters.
What are the kidneys? The kidneys are two organs whose significant functions are to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body and to produce hormones that manage blood pressure, red cell production, acid policy and to influence calcium, salt, potassium and other electrolyte metabolic process.
Where are the kidneys located? The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that are found versus the back muscles in the upper abdominal area. They sit opposite each other on both the left and right side of the body the right kidney, nevertheless, sits a bit lower than the delegated accommodate the size of the liver.
Feeling that your kidney pain comes and goes cannot be ignored. Kidney stones prevail urinary tract disorders. Kidney stones can form in your kidneys when normal substances in your urine end up being too concentrated.
When this takes place, solid product can stay in your kidney or may move down your urinary tract, ultimately losing consciousness of your body.
Also Check: Can Kidney Stones Cause Constipation Or Diarrhea
Can Recurrent Utis Be A Sign Of Cancer
Both UTIs and bladder cancer can cause similar symptoms, such as a frequent need to urinate and even blood in the urine, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
According to the American Cancer Society, urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, and other causes of chronic bladder irritation have been linked to bladder cancer. However, its not clear whether recurrent urinary or bladder infections can actually cause bladder cancer or whether they constitute a true risk factor for bladder cancer.
The biggest known risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking. The risk of bladder cancer also increases with age. Most people who get bladder cancer are over the age of 55.
If you think you may have chronic or recurrent UTIs, its best to get checked out by your doctor. Your provider can rule out other health issues, including bladder cancer, and get you the treatment you need to get rid of chronic UTIs.
Whats The Difference Between A Urinary Tract Infection And Bladder Infection
A urinary tract infection is a more general type of infection. There are many parts of your urinary tract. A UTI is a term for an infection that takes place throughout the urinary tract. A bladder infection, also called cystitis, is a specific infection. In this infection, bacteria makes its way into the bladder and causes inflammation.
Not all urinary tract infections become bladder infections. Preventing the spread of the infection is one of the most important reasons to treat a UTI quickly when you have symptoms. The infection can spread not only to the bladder, but also into your kidneys, which is a more complicated type of infection than a UTI.
Read Also: Does Diet Coke Cause Kidney Stones
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.
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.
Don’t Miss: Water In Kidney Symptoms
How Long Will The Effects Last
For most UTIs, the symptoms go away within 24 hours after you begin treatment. Take all of the medicine your healthcare provider prescribes, even after the symptoms go away. If you stop taking your medicine before the scheduled end of treatment, the infection may come back.
Without treatment, the infection can last a long time. If it is not treated, the infection can permanently damage the bladder and kidneys, or it may spread to the blood. If the infection spreads to the blood, it can be fatal.
When Treatment Doesnt Work
UTI is a fairly common illness, accounting for around 8.3 million doctor visits yearly in the United States alone. This is probably why most people just shrug it off as another harmless condition, and most of the time, theyre right not to worry. Generally, this genitourinary infection is non-complex and thus fairly easy to manage.
There are cases, however, when patients dont respond to the treatment. According to Erik Castle, MD, from Mayo Clinic, there are several factors that may predispose you to UTI, particularly if youre a woman. These are:
- kidney or bladder stones
- bacteria entering the urethra during intercourse
- changes in estrogen levels
- previous surgery on the urinary tract
- diabetes and other associated complications
- bladder cancer
In men, however, having an enlarged or infected prostate can exacerbate their UTI symptoms or predispose them to a chronic infection. Also, if you have other conditions requiring you to use a catheter, the chances of getting your urinary tract infected also increase.
You May Like: Can You Have 4 Kidneys