What Is The Difference Between A Bladder Infection And A Kidney Infection
Kidney and bladder infections are both considered urinary tract infections. Although they share similar symptoms, there are differences between the two. A kidney infectionâs signs and symptoms vary significantly from person to person and normally develop within a day or as fast as a few hours.
Understanding the difference between a bladder and kidney infection can ensure you take the proper steps towards healing and speeding up doctor consultation sessions.
When To See Your Gp
See your GP if you have a fever and persistent tummy, lower back or genital pain, or if you notice a change to your usual pattern of urination.
Most kidney infections need prompt treatment with antibiotics to stop the infection from damaging the kidneys or spreading to the bloodstream. You may also need painkillers.
If youre especially vulnerable to the effects of an infection for example, if you have a pre-existing health condition or are pregnant, you may be admitted to hospital and treated with antibiotics through an intravenous drip.
After taking antibiotics, you should feel completely better after about two weeks.
In rare cases, a kidney infection can cause further problems. These include blood poisoning and a build-up of pus in the kidney called an abscess.
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What Is A Kidney Infection
Kidney infection is an upper urinary tract infection that generally begins in your urethra or bladder and travels up into your kidneys. Most kidney infections start out as common bladder infections.
A kidney infection, if not treated properly and promptly, can permanently damage your kidneys or the bacteria can spread to your bloodstream and cause a life-threatening infection. Fortunately, kidney infections can almost always be cleared up with a course of antibiotics.
Some kidney infections can develop without a bladder infection and are due to a problem within the kidney itself. As an example, people with kidney stones or an abnormality of the kidney are more susceptible to kidney infections.
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What To Expect From Kidney Infection Treatment
A kidney infection is easy to treat if its caught in its earliest stage, especially if youre young and generally healthy. In this case, a course of antibiotics lasting a week to two weeks is usually enough, Dr. Movassaghi says. However, taking the full course of antibiotics is key for fully fighting off the infection, even if youre feeling totally fine halfway through, so be sure to take every dose, says the NIDDK.
If you have a severe kidney infection or are immunocompromised, youll likely need to be treated in the hospital with intravenous antibiotics. After a few days, you should be able to move on to taking antibiotics by mouth.
In rare cases, a person might need surgery for a kidney infection. Usually, this is only considered if your doctor determines theres something blocking your urinary tract like a kidney stone or an enlarged prostate.
How Can I Get Rid Of My Uti Without Antibiotics
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Research And Statistics: Who Gets Urinary Tract Infections
In the United States, UTIs result in about 10 million doctors office visits annually. People of any age can get a UTI, though most commonly it affects women. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 40 to 60 percent of women develop a UTI during their lives.
Twelve percent of men will have symptoms of at least one UTI during their lives, per the American Urological Association. While UTIs are uncommon in young men, the risk of infection increases with age, especially in men over 50.
In children, UTIs are common and also occur more frequently in girls than boys. About 3 percent of girls and 1 percent of boys will have a UTI by the time theyre 11 years old.
Your Healthcare Professional Will Probably Do The Following:
- urinalysis where people in the lab will test for bacteria, white blood cells, and actual blood.
- if bacteria is detected, the doctor might suggest a CT scan or ultrasound to evaluate your kidneys.
If the infection is not too serious, treatment can take place at home. If the infection has progressed too far and is severe you might have to consider hospital care.
If you are like me, you would much prefer to use home remedies and natural supplements. However, because kidney infections are so serious, you may want to take a prescription provided by your doctor and use home remedies to ease symptoms or pain. Supplements are also best for avoiding the infection in the first place, and to improve kidney function.
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How Can I Prevent A Kidney Infection
You may be able to lower your chance of getting a kidney infection by:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Urinating as soon as you feel the need to
- Urinating after having sex
- Avoiding the use of deodorant sprays or douches in your genital area
- Getting treatment for constipation . Constipation is not a symptom of kidney infection but it can increase your chance of having bacteria in your urinary tract because it can make it difficult to empty your bladder fully.
Signs Of A Kidney Infection To Know And When To Go To The Hospital
Youre probably not constantly on the lookout for signs of a kidney infection. But getting a urinary tract infection can open you up to also getting an infection in one or both kidneys, which means this is an illness that should be on your radar. Yep, its an unfortunate truth: A urinary tract infection can lead to a kidney infection, which is medically known as pyelonephritis and can be incredibly serious. So if youre experiencing symptoms of a UTI and thinking, Eh, I can wait a few more days to get those antibiotics, think again. Heres what you need to know about the signs of a kidney infection, its underlying causes, why its so important to get treatment as soon as you can, and more.
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How Do The Kidneys Become Infected
Acute kidney infections are typically caused by bacteria that has gotten into the urethra and traveled up through the bladder and ureters . Some medical conditions such as bladder dysfunction, bladder obstruction, neurogenic bladder or vesicoureteral reflux along with conditions that require the use of catheters can also increase the chances of kidney infection and damage.
Ok So How Do I Make Sure I Never Get A Uti Or A Kidney Infection
As they say, prevention is the best cure! And there are many things you can do to ensure that youre reducing your risk for an infection, and preventing build up from occurring in the kidneys.
Practice good hygiene. Always wipe from front to back, keep your genital area clean, wash before and after sex. Basically, do your best to keep bacteria from even having a chance of getting into the urinary system in the first place.
Drink lots of water. If youre dehydrated, youre not only increasing your chance of a UTI, but youre also decreasing your urine output, meaning that more minerals have a chance to build up and settle in the urinary tract or kidneys.
Make sure to urinate whenever you feel you have to go. Dont hold it in. This concentrates the urine allowing bacteria to build up and spread.
Alter your diet if you find youre prone to kidney stones. Cut down on certain meats and shellfish and opting instead for more vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid consuming too much sugar. Cut back on sodium, and eat more oxalate-rich foods .
And if you do start experiencing any of the symptoms above, be sure to see a doctor right away. UTIs, kidney infections, and kidney stones can usually be treated fairly easily, but its important to seek medical attention before any complications develop.
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Can Kidney Infection Be Prevented
Most kidney infections are caused by germs travelling up from a bladder infection. So the same things that can help to reduce your chances of bladder infection should reduce your chances of kidney infection. Traditionally, people who got recurring urine infections were advised about measures such as drinking plenty of fluid and taking cranberry juice, and on the way that they wiped themselves after going to the toilet. However, there is little evidence for any of these measures and they are now not usually advised. Anything which increases your risk of urine infections which can be treated, should be treated. For example, any constipation should be treated promptly, as constipation can increase your chances of a bladder or kidney infection. See the separate leaflet called Constipation for more details. Doctors will try to treat anything else which might be contributing, such as kidney stones or an abnormality in the structure of the urinary system.
Pregnant women are regularly tested for urine infections and for germs in their urine. Even if they don’t have symptoms, if urine tests positive for germs, pregnant women are usually treated with antibiotics to prevent any complications.
In some cases people who have recurring urine infections are treated with a low dose of antibiotic continually. This may help to prevent recurrences and to prevent spread to the kidney.
How Do I Know If I Have A Uti Or A Kidney Infection
It may feel like all urinary tract infections are the same they all feel pretty uncomfortable! But a UTI can occur anywhere within your urinary system and its important to know what to look for in case it travels to your kidneys. Read on to learn more about UTIs and Kidney Infections, and how to tell the difference between them.
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Your Uretha Is Irritated After Having Sex
“I have many patients with urethritis after intercourse who believe they have UTIs, but when I culture before and after, the cultures are negative,” Rice says. People sometimes even call the UTI-like symptoms you can get from intercourse “honeymoon cystitis.”If this is what you’re dealing with, the symptoms should go away within a few days without antibiotics. “Often, if I prescribe natural supplements and bladder pain relief medications, the symptoms are limited to less than 24 hours,” Rice says. You should still consult your doctor, but don’t be surprised if they advise pain relief rather than antibiotics.
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.
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Signs And Symptoms Of A Kidney Infection
Signs and symptoms of a kidney infection include those of a lower urinary tract infection including painful and frequent urination as well as:
- Fever and chills
- Pain in the lower back or sides
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cloudy or smelly urine
- Dark or bloody urine
In people ages 65 and older, the above signs and symptoms of kidney infection may not occur. Instead, these individuals may experience confusion, hallucinations, or difficulty speaking.
In newborns and very young children, the only sign of a kidney infection may be a high fever.
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.
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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
What Are The Symptoms Of A Kidney Infection
Most kidney infections actually start with a bladder infection which can include symptoms like:
- Pain when the bladder fills, and throughout the pelvic area
- The need to urinate frequently
- The overwhelming urge to urinate, even after youve just done so
- Cloudy, bloody or smelly urine
If the infection subsequently moves from the bladder to the kidneys, you may also experience infection symptoms like:
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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.
Research And Statistics: How Many People Get Kidney Infections
The Cleveland Clinic estimates that each year between 3 and 7 out of 10,000 people in the United States develop a kidney infection.
Kidney infections are much more common among pregnant women, occurring in about 2 percent of pregnancies.
There are about 100,000 hospital visits for UTIs each year in the United States, most of which are related to kidney infections, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders .
One important area of research for kidney infection is antibiotic resistance when bacteria contain a way to block the effect of the drugs designed to kill them. Currently, guidelines for treating kidney infection recommend adding intravenous antibiotics to oral drugs when a certain percentage of bacteria from a urine sample show signs of resistance.
Treatment for kidney infections has largely stayed the same over the last several years, says Amin S. Herati, MD, an assistant professor of urology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. But, Dr. Herati says, there are some new therapies in the pipeline that are very exciting.
One promising potential treatment on the horizon, says Herati, is bacteriophage therapy, which involves injecting a virus that targets specific bacteria, causing them to burst and die. This approach could be useful for UTIs and kidney infections in which antibiotic resistance is a problem.
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Top Tips To Prevent Further Kidney Infections
Some of the things that may help include the following:
- Dont hold on to urine. Go to the toilet promptly
- Stay well hydrated and make sure you drink plenty of fluids every day
- Constipation can increase your chances of a bladder or kidney infection, so treat constipation promptly
- Empty your bladder after having sex
- Always make sure that you wipe from front to back after going to the toilet
- Avoid using feminine products such as deodorant sprays or douches in your genital area
Kimberly-Clark Australia makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.
Arnold, J., McLeod, N., Thani-Gasalam, R. and Rachid, P. . RACGP – Overactive bladder syndrome management and treatment options. Racgp.org.au. Available at:.
Bladderclinic.com.au, . Overactive Bladder . Available at:.
Cherney, K. . Home Remedies for Overactive Bladder. Healthline. Available at:.
Eilber, MD, K. . What Is The Difference Between A Small Bladder And An …. EmpowHER. Available at:
What Can I Do To Help Prevent My Child From Getting A Kidney Infection
If you suspect your child has a UTI, get them prompt medical treatment to help prevent the UTI from turning into a kidney infection. Here are some tips for preventing UTIs.
While preventative antibiotics have been found to reduce the number of recurrent UTIs, there isnt any evidence that their use decreases the risk of kidney infection or scarring. Uncircumcised boys that are less than one year old are ten times more likely to get UTIs than circumcised boys, but by age two the risk decreases and circumcision does not have an effect on infection rates.
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Pearls And Other Issues
- Complicated pyelonephritis includes pregnant patients, patients with uncontrolled diabetes, transplant patients, those with urinary anatomical abnormalities, acute or chronic kidney failure, as well as immunocompromised patients
- Acute pyelonephritis will classically present as a triad of fever, flank pain, and nausea or vomiting, but not all symptoms have to be present.
- Ultrasonography can be used to detect pyelonephritis, but a negative study does not exclude acute pyelonephritis.
- Most uncomplicated cases of acute pyelonephritis will be caused by E. coli for which patients can be treated with oral cephalosporins or TMP-SMX for 14 days.
- Old age , male gender, impaired renal function, or presence of disseminated intravascular coagulation are associated with increased mortality.
- Acute pyelonephritis can have several complications such as renal or perinephric abscess formation, sepsis, renal vein thrombosis, papillary necrosis, or acute renal failure, with one of the more serious complications being emphysematous pyelonephritis.