Kidney Infection

What is a Kidney Infection?

Kidney infections are a type of infection that falls into the urinary tract infection category. A urinary tract infection commonly starts in the urethra, or even your bladder. After it develops, it can travel up the urinary tract and into the kidneys.

A kidney infection does require medical attention. If it is not treated right away, it can cause serious, permanent damage to your kidneys. The bacteria can also spread into the bloodstream, which is able to cause a life threatening infection.

What are the Symptoms of Kidney Infection?

Symptoms of kidney infections can be extremely painful. They may also be very confusing.

Symptoms include

  • Fever, can be constant or intermittent
  • Pain in the back, side, or groin
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Urinating frequently
  • A persistent, strong urge to urinate
  • A sensation of burning upon urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pus in the urine
  • A foul smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine

Not all of these symptoms are present as an initial sign of a kidney infection. However, if you develop three or more symptoms associated with kidney infection, you should see your doctor right away.

Kidney Infection Causes

A type of bacteria known as E. Coli enters the urinary tract through the tube that carries urine. It multiplies and travels to the kidneys resulting in kidney infections. The bacteria can enter the body in a number of ways.

When someone wipes the bottom after visiting the toilet, and the dirty toilet paper makes contact with the genitals, it is believed that bacteria can get into the urinary tract spreading from the anus to the urethra. People with a weakened immune system usually get kidney infections when fungi or bacteria infect the skin, and the infection extends through the bloodstream into the kidney. Having a urinary catheter increases the chances of getting the kidney infection, while individuals with kidney stones have a high risk of developing kidney infection. Kidney stones result from a build-up of dissolved minerals on the internal lining of the kidneys.

Males with an inflamed prostate have a high risk of developing kidney infections, while sexual intercourse may irritate the urethra, increasing the risk of bacteria getting in the urinary tract and reaching the kidneys.

How is Kidney Infection Treated?

Treatment of a kidney infection can include strong antibiotics. In many cases, it might require hospitalization.

The first treatment for a kidney infection is usually antibiotics. The type of antibiotics that are used depend on your health, your antibiotic allergies, and the type of bacteria that is found in your urine. After treatment with antibiotics has started, the symptoms will clear up within a few days. It may be necessary for you to take your antibiotic for a week, or even up to 14 days to ensure that the infection is completely cleared up.

A kidney infection that has become severe may require hospital admittance. The treatment received there will include IV antibiotics. The amount of time you stay in the hospital will depend on the severity of your infection, and the type of bacteria that is found in your urine. If more than one bacteria is found in your urine, your hospital stay may be longer to ensure that all negative bacteria has been eliminated and does not return.

Kidney Infection Prevention

The best way to stop a kidney infection from developing is by eliminating the chance of having bacteria in the bladder or urethra.

It is advisable to take a lot of fluids to stay hydrated, thus reducing the chances of getting kidney stones. Whenever there is an urge to urinate, do so promptly. Urinate after sexual intercourse and also wash the genitals before and after sexual intercourse. After defecating, you should wipe the anus from the front side towards the back. This decreases the risk of spreading bacteria to the genitals. Constipation increases the danger of developing a urinary tract infection, a risk factor for a kidney infection. It is, therefore, advisable to eat plenty of fiber so that stool comes out effortlessly and does not infuriate or cause skin lesions.