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 you’re 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 you’re 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medications for diabetes, such as metformin or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, they may be temporarily withdrawn until you recover.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.
What Are Potential Kidney Infection Complications
Most people recover 100% from a kidney infectionbut there is the possibility of serious complications if one is left untreated. As we mentioned, a kidney infection that doesnt get treated can cause a condition known as sepsis. This happens when your body responds overzealously to an infection, which can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure and cause the body to go into shock, according to the NIDDK. This can make your organs fail, which, in the most extreme cases, can lead to death.
Even in non-life-threatening cases, if you have a kidney infection that becomes chronic, you can wind up with permanent kidney damage that can cause problems like kidney disease or high blood pressure. In pregnant people, untreated kidney infections can also increase the risk of having a baby with low birth weight, notes the Mayo Clinic.
All of that sounds scary, but heres whats most important to know: A kidney infection is treatable. Its all about how soon you seek treatment once you start experiencing kidney infection symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Kidney Infection
Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- Pain in your lower back, one or both sides or your groin
- Urinating more often than normal
- Feeling like you have to urinate even if you just went
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Blood or pus in your urine
- Urine that is cloudy or smells bad
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away. If you are currently taking medicine to treat a UTI, but you are still having any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.
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Home Remedies For Uti
A quick internet search yields plenty of articles swearing that certain home remedies like cranberry juice cure a UTI. Most of these treatments are safe to try in moderation, but they shouldnt take the place of seeking a trained professionals advice.
For example, some scientific evidence suggests that an active ingredient in cranberries called proanthocyanidins may stop bacteria like E. coli from adhering to the urinary tract, making it less likely that the bacteria will stick around and cause an infection. Certain probiotics and vitamin C supplements may also help prevent UTIs, and probiotics have the added benefit of reducing diarrhea caused by being on antibiotics. However, more research is necessary to prove these alternative treatments are effective.
If you choose to try any home remedy, remember that untreated UTIs can worsen over time and turn into kidney infection, which can lead to emergency hospitalization in serious cases. A UTI isnt something you want to put off or avoid talking to your doctor about. Call them at the first sign of symptoms.
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What About Kidney Stones Are They Involved Here Somehow
Sort of. A kidney stone isnt an infection, but a collection of salt and minerals that hardens and turns into a stone. While some stones may be small others can be much larger. They may stay in the kidney, or begin to move into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder. When this happens, kidney stones can become extremely painful.
Kidney stones can be tricky, since they may have many of the same symptoms as a UTI or a kidney infection pain when urinating, needing to urinate often, and cloudy or strong smelling urine, blood in the urine, fever, nausea or vomiting. And while stones often pass on their own, larger stones sometimes need to be broken up, or removed.
Sometimes, kidney stones can lead to a urinary tract infection or a kidney infection, so its important to get them checked out by your doctor. And, since the symptoms are so similar, getting a checkup is probably a good idea anyway just to rule out the possibility of an infection, and to make sure the stone is moving along as it should.
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Kidney Infection Treatment Options
Kidney infections are treated with antibiotics, pain relievers, and fever reducers. Uncomplicated kidney infection and few complicated kidney infections will be treated on an outpatient basis by a general practitioner, but people with a complicated kidney infection likely require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.. Pregnant women may require additional consultation with an obstetrician or gynecologist.
Why Antibiotics Sometimes Dont Work
Most UTIs arent serious. But if left untreated, the infection can spread up to the kidneys and bloodstream and become life threatening. Kidney infections can lead to kidney damage and kidney scarring.
Symptoms of a UTI usually improve within 2 to 3 days after starting antibiotic therapy. Many doctors prescribe an antibiotic for at least 3 days.
While this type of medication is the standard treatment, researchers are noticing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are reducing the effectiveness of some antibiotics in treating UTIs.
Some UTIs dont clear up after antibiotic therapy. When an antibiotic medication doesnt stop the bacteria from causing an infection, the bacteria continue to multiply.
The overuse or misuse of antibiotics is often the reason for antibiotic resistance. This can happen when the same antibiotic is prescribed over and over again for recurrent UTIs. Because of this risk, experts have been looking for ways to treat UTIs without antibiotics.
Some research has shown that UTIs can be treated without traditional antibiotics by targeting E. colis surface component for adhesion, FimH.
Typically, the urinary tract flushes away bacteria when you urinate. But according to researchers, FimH can cause E. coli to firmly attach to the cells in the urinary tract. And because of this tight grip, its hard for the body to naturally flush the bacteria from the urinary tract.
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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 and . 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:
Who’s Most Likely To Get A Kidney Infection
Women and children are most at risk of developing a kidney infection, as well as other urinary tract infections such as cystitis.
Other factors can also put you more at risk of developing a kidney infection, including:
- having a condition that blocks, or obstructs, your urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate children with constipation can also be at an increased risk
- being born with an abnormality in your urinary tract
- having a condition that prevents you emptying your bladder fully, such as an injury to your spinal cord this can allow bacteria in your bladder to multiply and spread
- having a weakened immune system for example, due to type 2 diabetes or as a side effect of chemotherapy
- having an infection of the prostate gland called prostatitis the infection can spread from the prostate gland into the kidneys
- having a urinary catheter
- being female and sexually active sexual intercourse can irritate the urethra and allow bacteria to travel into your bladder
- being pregnant this can cause physical changes that slow the flow of urine out of your body and make it easier for bacteria to spread to the kidneys
- having undergone female genital mutilation an illegal practice where a woman’s genitals are deliberately cut or changed for cultural, religious and social reasons
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How To Get Rid Of A Kidney Infection: Can Natural Remedies Help
This article was co-authored by Zora Degrandpre, ND. Dr. Degrandpre is a Licensed Naturopathic Physician in Vancouver, Washington. She is also a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. She received her ND from the National College of Natural Medicine in 2007. This article has been viewed 46,736 times.
A kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection that settles in one or both kidneys. It usually starts in the urethra or bladder and works its way up into the kidneys. This sounds scary, but fortunately, these infections are easy to treat with antibiotics and should clear up without any lasting problems. However, they definitely require medical treatment. Some natural remedies can prevent the infection from getting worse and complement the treatment youre receiving, but they wont cure the infection on their own. Together, medication and lifestyle treatments can heal your infection in no time.
Things You Can Do Yourself
To help ease pain:
- takeparacetamolup to 4 times a day to reduce pain and a high temperature for people with a UTI, paracetamol is usually recommended over NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- you can give childrenliquid paracetamol
- rest and drink enough fluids so you pass pale urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather
Its important to follow the instructions on the packet so you know how much paracetamol you or your child can take, and how often.
It may also help to avoid having sex until you feel better.
You cannot pass a UTI on to your partner, but sex may be uncomfortable.
Taking cystitis sachets or cranberry products has not been shown to help ease symptoms of UTIs.
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Seek Treatment Right Away
It is very important to get medical treatment for a kidney infection as soon as possibledo not wait for it to go away on its own. Kidney infections that are not treated soon enough can cause permanent kidney damage or can spread to other parts of your body and cause an even more serious infection, such as an infection in your blood , which can be fatal.
If you have pain, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter pain medicines. You can also use a heating pad to help with pain. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water.
How Long Does A Uti Last
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If you have a UTI, its best to get it treated right away before any complications develop . Its possible for a UTI to get better on its own, but most of the time, it wont. While home remedies can help ease some of the discomfort, a doctor can prescribe you an antibiotic that is a much quicker and more effective treatment. An antibiotic will start working immediately and, depending on how complicated your UTI is, may clear it up in a matter of days. Be sure to always take your medication how your doctor prescribes.
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When Its Time To See Your Doctor
See your doctor if your UTI symptoms persist or worsen after a few days of trying to treat it on your own. Your doctor can evaluate the severity of your UTI and prescribe the best course of treatment to prevent complications.
If antibiotics are not working to treat your symptoms, your doctor may try different antibiotics or recommend other home remedies you havent tried.
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Where Does Your Back Hurt With A Uti
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.
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How To Prevent A Kidney Infection
Preventing a kidney infection is really all about preventing a urinary tract infection and getting prompt treatment if you ever get one. While youve probably heard that guzzling cranberry juice or taking certain supplements can keep UTIs away, the science is far too mixed to consider either of these a definitive way to prevent UTIs, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Heres a more science-backed tip to take note of: Whenever you feel a potential bladder infection coming on, make it a habit to drink enough water every day to stay hydrated. That will ensure youre peeing often enough to help flush out bacteria that could possibly lead to a urinary tract infection. The NIDDK recommends peeing as often as you get the urge, but definitely at least every three to four hours, since urine hanging out in your bladder for too long may help bacteria to grow.
Dr. Kaufman also says peeing after you have sex, if you can, might be helpful if you tend to develop UTIs after sex. Theres not a ton of evidence to back this up as a prevention strategy, but it doesnt do any harm to make a habit of it. For people with vaginas that get recurrent infections that only happen after sex, your doctor may recommend a single dose of a prophylactic antibiotic that you can take each time you have sex to help prevent infection.4
Get To Know These Common Urinary Diseases
Urological diseases are common for men and women of any age.
The urinary tract consisting of the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra is responsible for removing excess waste from the body and maintaining a healthy hydration level. The kidneys are one of the bodys filters, Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky said. They regulate minerals and remove some toxins from our blood. They also regulate the water that makes up the majority of our bodies. The most prevalent issues tend to be infections of the urinary tract, and other common conditions that include kidney stones, incontinence and kidney disease.
While many of the diseases that can affect the urinary tract are easy to manage, they can cause discomfort and pain, and escalate quickly if left untreated.
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How Can You Improve Your Kidney Health
Lifestyle habits that benefit your overall health, like staying hydrated and exercising regularly, can be vastly beneficial to your kidney health.
Similarly, you shouldnt smoke, and you should go see your doctor for regular checkups to monitor your blood pressure. If youre at risk for kidney infections, you should have your kidneys tested and monitored.
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How Are Utis Diagnosed
To diagnose a UTI, health care providers ask questions about whats going on, do a physical exam, and take a sample of pee for testing.
How a sample is taken depends on a childs age. Older kids might simply need to pee into a sterile cup. For younger children in diapers, a catheter is usually preferred. This is when a thin tube is inserted into the urethra up to the bladder to get a clean urine sample.
The sample may be used for a urinalysis or a urine culture . Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best treatment.
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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