Related Conditions Of Kidney Infection
Kidney infection can develop from, or lead to, certain other health conditions, including the following:
Urinary Tract Infection Most UTIs affect the lower urinary tract the urethra and bladder. But bacteria can migrate from the bladder to the kidneys, causing infection there.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Having an enlarged prostate can reduce the flow of urine, making it more likely that youll develop a UTI or kidney infection.
One of the most serious potential complications of a kidney infection, sepsis is an extreme immune system response to infection, resulting in widespread inflammation and sometimes vital organ failure and death.
Signs And Symptoms Of Kidney Infection
- Pain in the lower back or groin
- Frequent or urgent urination
Symptoms can also vary by age. For instance, very young children may only have a high fever, while senior adults may not even show any of the typical signs. Instead, they may experience cognitive problems such as difficulty speaking and confused thinking.
Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections
The symptoms of a basic urinary tract infection often include:
- Dark, cloudy urine that may appear red or pink from blood
- Painful or burning urination, a condition known as dysuria
- An urgent and frequent need to urinate
- A small amount of urine when you do go to the bathroom
- Urine that smells bad
- Confusion, particularly in more elderly patients
- More intense feelings of general illness
If you are experiencing symptoms of a kidney infection seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you receive treatment the more likely you are to prevent long term damage and recover faster.
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Causes Of Kidney Pain
Kidney pain has many possible causes. These organs are connected to others like your bladder and ureters, where you store and get rid of urine.
Kidney stones. Intense, sudden, stabbing pain may be a kidney stone. These are mineral deposits that can grow large enough to block a ureter, a tube that connects your kidney and bladder. If that happens, you’ll feel sharp pain or cramps in your back or side. It can also spread out to your groin. As you try to pee out the stone, you might feel waves of pain.
Kidney infection. Also called pyelonephritis, this infection could cause discomfort in one or both kidneys. You may feel pain in your back, in your side or both sides under your ribs, or in your groin. You’ll also have a fever. Urinary tract infections also cause discomfort in this organ.
Kidney swelling. This condition, called hydronephrosis, can happen if your kidneys are blocked. Your urine can’t drain the way it should and builds up in your kidneys. This can happen in one or both kidneys and sometimes it causes pain.
Kidney cysts. You may not feel a simple kidney cyst until it grows larger. Once it gets big, you might feel a dull pain in your side or back, or feel pain in the upper part of your belly.
Polycystic kidney disease. This genetic disease causes many cysts to grow in your kidneys. They may cause you to feel a pain in your back or side.
What Is A Kidney Infection Is It The Same As A Urinary Tract Infection
The main components of the urinary tract system are the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Any part of the urinary system may become infected and this is generally referred to as a urinary tract infection . When a kidney becomes infected, the condition is medically referred to as pyelonephritis. Thus, kidney infection is only one of several types of infections encompassed by the term UTI. The spectrum of UTIs includes:
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Prevention Of Kidney Infections
Kidney infections are the result of bladder infections migrating to one or both kidneys. Here are some methods to reduce your risk of UTIs and kidney infections:
- Maintain personal hygiene habits such as washing your genitals and wiping front to back.
- Individuals with indwelling bladder catheters should remember to have their catheters changed regularly to avoid irritation and infection. Additionally, make sure to clean and monitor the area surrounding where the catheter enters the urethra.
- Urinate when you need to. Dont hold it, and try to empty your bladder completely.
- Urinate soon after sex, and make sure to practice safe sex in general.
- Diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, and spermicidal lubes can potentially contribute to infection. Consider switching to different birth control methods if recurring infections are an issue.
If you suffer any symptoms of a urinary tract or kidney infection, talk to your doctor immediately. The faster you act, the more effective the treatment will be. If you experience any of these symptoms, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone or video appointment with an experienced doctor today.
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.
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Complications Of Kidney Infections
Most kidney infections are treated successfully without complications, although some people may develop further problems.
Complications of a kidney infection are rare, but youre more likely to develop them if you:
- rapid heartbeat
Blood poisoning is a medical emergency that usually requires admission to a hospital intensive care unit while antibiotics are used to fight the infection.
If youre taking certain medications for diabetes, such as metformin or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, they may be temporarily withdrawn until you recover. This is because they can cause kidney damage during an episode of blood poisoning.
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A Back Pain You Cant Ignore
An upper UTI can cause intense back pain as the infection reaches the kidneys. People will get pain in the lower back and groin area. Back pain comes with two other symptoms: high fever and vomiting. Upper infections happen when a lower UTI goes unchecked or does not respond to antibiotics. These infections are serious and, in severe cases, need hospitalization. If not managed well, the infection can spread to the renal artery and blood, which is life-threatening.
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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.
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:
Womens urethras are also shorter than mens, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder and cause an infection.
What Are Different Types Of Kidney Infection
Kidney infection, or pyelonephritis, may be classified as uncomplicated, complicated, or chronic kidney infection .
A complicated kidney infection refers to a kidney infection in which there is an accompanying condition that increases the risk of severe infection and ineffective treatment, such as abnormalities of the urinary tract, urinary obstruction, or diabetes. It can also mean there is severe involvement of the kidney, for example, abscess formation, obstruction, enlarged kidney, or gas is seen in the kidney by an imaging study, such as a CT scan. In these situations, the symptoms may be more severe and less responsive to usual treatments.
A chronic kidney infection may refer to a recurring kidney infection that could be a result of a kidney stone obstructing the ureter or other structural abnormalities in the ureters . These conditions are usually associated with milder symptoms, but they may last longer.
The evaluation of complicated kidney infections and chronic kidney infections typically requires a more thorough evaluation and more extensive testing such as CT scans and X-rays.
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Use Your Health Insurance Just Like You Normally Would To See Your Doctor
During your UTI treatment, you can take steps to ensure that you get the maximum effect out of your antibiotics while promoting your own comfort.
- Use a heating pad on your abdomen to soothe any pain and discomfort and relieve pressure.
- Drink plenty of water to help flush out the bacteria in your urinary tract.
- Avoid any food and drink that may irritate your urinary system. This includes coffee, alcohol, and sugary sodas that contain citrus juice or caffeine.
Should I Take Antibiotics To Prevent Uti
Not usually. Antibiotics are medicines used to kill bacteria that cause infection. When you take an antibiotic to kill bacteria, the bacteria can change or adapt in a way that it becomes resistant to the antibiotic being used. This means that the antibiotic can no longer kill the bacteria. It takes a stronger antibiotic to then kill the bacteria in the future. There are a limited number of antibiotics that can kill bacteria, so its best to use antibiotics only when needed to avoid reaching the point when the bacteria are resistant to all antibiotics.
Here are a few recommendations for using antibiotics and better avoiding antibiotic resistance.
- Do not take antibiotics that are not prescribed to you.
- Do not take antibiotics for conditions that do not require them. For example, dont take antibiotics to treat viruses like the cold or flu.
- Do not take antibiotics simply because your urine has bacteria. It is very common for people with SCI to have bacteria in their urine, so you usually only need to take an antibiotic to treat a UTI when you begin to you have signs and symptoms.
- Antibiotics may be used to prevent infection in some situations. For example, women with SCI are often prescribed antibiotics to prevent UTI during pregnancy.
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Treating Urinary Tract Infections
Your recommended treatment plan by your GP will depend on whether your infection is in the upper or lower urinary tract.
Both types of urinary tract infection can usually be treated at home using a course of antibiotics.
If an upper UTI is more serious or there is increased risk of complications, you may need hospital treatment.
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Relief Without A Prescription
An over-the-counter drug called phenazopyridine can help ease your pain, burning, and irritation. It also controls your need to pee frequently and urgently.
But there’s a catch. It only works on your symptoms. It doesn’t cure your infection. You still need to see your doctor to make sure you get treatment to fight the bacteria that’s causing your UTI.
Also, one common side effect: It turns your pee dark red or orange while you take it.
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When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain
In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:
- If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
What If The Infection Does Not Clear Up With Treatment
Most infections clear up with treatment. However, if an infection does not clear up, or if you have repeated infections, you may be given some special tests such as:
a type of x-ray called an intravenous pyleogram , which involves injecting a dye into a vein and taking pictures of your kidney and bladder
an ultrasound exam, which gives a picture of your kidneys and bladder using sound waves
a cytoscopic exam, which uses a hollow tube with special lenses to look inside the bladder.
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Complications Of A Kidney Infection
If it isnt treated promptly, a kidney infection can lead to a number of potentially serious complications.
Youre more likely to develop a complication from a kidney infection if you have:
- Prior kidney disease
- A history of kidney infections
- A structural abnormality in your urinary tract
The following complications can result from a kidney infection:
High Blood Pressure Your blood pressure can rise to unhealthy levels as your immune system tries to fight your infection.
Kidney Failure If its serious enough, an infection can stop your kidneys from effectively removing waste products from your blood.
Scarring If you develop scars in your kidneys from an infection, your kidneys may not be able to function properly, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease.
Blood Infection One of the main jobs of your kidneys is to filter waste products out of your blood. A kidney infection can spread to your entire bloodstream in this process.
A bloodstream infection can, in turn, lead to sepsis, which is a severe inflammatory reaction to bacteria. Sepsis can be life-threatening.
Renal or Perinephric Abscess If the infection in your kidney is not treated promptly, the bacteria may create an abscess, or pocket of pus, inside or next to your kidney.
Pregnancy Complications A kidney infection during pregnancy raises the risk of low birth weight in your baby.
Take The Signs Seriously
UTIs can happen at almost any age in women and at an elderly age in men. Researchers are still searching for the root cause. Until then, take preventative measures to reduce the chances of the condition. For people suspecting a UTI, seek help from a doctor. If the symptoms evolve into back pain, the kidneys are infected. At that point, get medical treatment immediately.
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Can You Tell If You Passed A Stone
Dr. De cautions people to be careful with the phrase passing a stone. Theres the passing the stone from the kidney to the bladder, which is the painful part, she says. Then theres the bladder out the urethra, which generally doesnt cause pain. Often, people only know they urinated out a stone if they are straining their urine or see it in the toilet. If you have severe pain or severe nausea or vomiting, head to the ER.
You may be given a urine mesh screen or a pee strainer, which you place on top of the toilet seat to collect any material in your urine. Your kidney stone may look like a grain of sand or a piece of gravel. You should keep any stones you collect in a cup with a lid or a plastic bag to keep them safe and dry until you can give them to your doctor for analysis. Your doctor will more than likely give you information on how to reduce your risk of kidney stones like:
- Drinking plenty of water.
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Bladder Infections In Women
40 percent of women in the United States develop a urinary tract infection at some point in their life.
This is because women have shorter urethras, making the path to the bladder easier for bacteria to reach. Womens urethras are also located closer to the rectum than mens urethras. This means there is a shorter distance for bacteria to travel.
During pregnancy, changes in the urinary tract increase the risk of an infection. Changes in the immune system also increase risk during pregnancy.
Some forms of birth control, like diaphragms and spermicides, may increase your risk of urinary tract infections.
Women are also more prone to recurring infections. About of women will experience a second infection within 6 months of their first infection.
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Kidney Infection Back Pain
Where does your back hurt if you have a kidney infection? If the pain is associated with the kidneys, it can cause pain on both sides of the lower back and will be concentrated in the area between the ribs and hips, also known as flanks, making kidney infection pain often referred to as flank pain.
Severe kidney pain like that from a kidney stone can result in sharp pains. Additional areas that may be in pain due to a kidney infection are the upper abdomen or the genital areas.
Kidney infection back pain will generally be constant and can be dull or severe depending on the source of the infection. An increase in pain may be triggered by excessive intake of fluids or when pressure is applied on the kidneys. Besides areas surrounding the kidneys, there shouldnt be any tenderness to the touch.
When should I be worried about lower back pain due to a kidney infection? First, it is important to consider other signs and symptoms of kidney infections such as nausea, vomiting, and fever, as doing so can help you distinguish between general back pain and that due to a kidney infection.
Indications of the major signs and symptoms of a kidney infection on top of a significant change to your usual urination pattern are good indicators that its time to contact your doctor. People who have a greater risk of developing a kidney infection, including pregnant women, should be extra vigilant about noticing signs of a kidney infection early on to prevent complications.