What Causes Kidney Infections
Most kidney infections are caused by bacteria that normally live in your large intestine. The bacteria get into your kidneys from the outside by traveling up your urinary tract:
First, bacteria get in your urethra
Then the bacteria travel up to your bladder
From the bladder, bacteria can move up to your kidneys through your ureters
You’re more likely to get kidney infections:
If something is blocking your urinary tract so it’s hard for urine to flow out
An infection of the bloodstream
What Is A Uti Anyway
A UTI, or urinary tract infection, happens when bacteria enters into any part of your urinary system, which includes the urethra, the bladder, the kidneys or the uterus. If not flushed out of the system, the bacteria can lead to an infection, or a UTI.
If youve ever had a UTI , you probably havent forgotten the symptoms. UTIs are very unpleasant, to say the least, and are often accompanied with one or more of the following:
A burning sensation when urinating
A strong urge to urinate often, usually passing only small amounts of urine at a time.
Cloudy and/or strong smelling urine
What Do Nephrologists Treat
A nephrologist is a doctor whose specialty is kidney health, but is that all?
Do nephrology doctors treat only conditions of the kidneys, or do they take care of the urinary tract in general? Can nephrologists treat diabetes and hypertension, two conditions that often go hand in hand with kidney disease?
Heres what Alberto Casaretto, MD, an experienced nephrologist at Florida Kidney Physicians, says on the matter.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Ahead Of A Sinus Infection
What Are Other Causes Of Kidney Infection
Although a kidney infection can result from a bladder infection, a kidney infection doesnt always begin with a bladder infection. Anything that changes the bacterial environment in your urinary tract system can increase the risk of infection, including any inflammation of the area, menopause, or the intake of medications altering the hormones in your body.
People with a weakened immune system are also at increased risk of developing infections. This includes people with malfunctioning bladder, urethra, or ureters, and anyone with a condition that suppresses the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or chemotherapy.
Although rare, they can develop a kidney infection through their bloodstream due to their immune systems state. Bacterial or fungal infections on the skin can spread into the blood and end up in the kidney during the blood filtering stage.
Also Check: Over The Counter Yeast Infection Male
Pyelonephritis In Pregnant Women
Pregnancy causes many temporary changes in the body, including physiological changes in the urinary tract. Increased progesterone and increased pressure on the ureters can result in an increased risk of pyelonephritis.
Pyelonephritis in pregnant women typically requires hospital admission. It can threaten the lives of both mother and baby. It can also increase the risk of premature delivery. Pregnant women are treated with beta-lactam antibiotics for at least 24 hours until their symptoms improve.
To prevent pyelonephritis in pregnant women, a urine culture should be conducted between the 12th and 16th weeks of pregnancy. A UTI that doesnt have symptoms can lead to the development of pyelonephritis. Detecting the UTI early can prevent kidney infection.
Also Check: Kidneys And Apple Cider Vinegar
Also Check: Yeast Infection In Buttocks Crack Treatment
Ok Got It But Then What Is A Kidney Infection
A kidney infection is, in essence, a UTI that has spread into the kidneys. While this type of infection is rare, its also very dangerous and if youre experiencing any of the following signs of a kidney infection, you should see a doctor immediately:
Upper back or side pain
Fever, shaking or chills
While most kidney infections can be treated simply with an antibiotic, if left untreated, a kidney infection can cause damage to your kidneys, leading to chronic kidney disease. The bacteria could even spread to your bloodstream creating a life-threatening situation.
What Is The Function Of The Kidneys
The kidneys have a variety of important functions in the body. These functions include filtering and excreting the waste products from the blood as it circulates through capillaries within the kidneys, regulating blood pressure, maintaining steady levels of electrolytes , and contributing to the production of red blood cells.
Recommended Reading: Best Antibiotic For Foot Infection
How Do Doctors Treat A Kidney Infection
Doctors treat most kidney infections with antibiotics . Doctors will often first prescribe an antibiotic that fights the most common types of kidney infection because it is very important to treat a kidney infection right away. Then, they may change the type of antibiotic after they get the results of your blood or urine tests.
Doctors will prescribe an antibiotic medicine based on:
- What type of bacteria is causing the infection
- How severe the infection is
- If you are you are pregnant
- If you are older than 65
- If you had problems from certain antibiotics in the past, such as allergic reactions
If you have a very serious infection, you may need to stay in the hospital to get antibiotics through an IV . You may also get medicine for pain.
If your kidney infection was caused by a problem with the shape of your urinary tract, you may need to have surgery to correct the problem and prevent future kidney infections.
What Is Kidney Infection
Infection in the urinary tract can involve the lower tract especially the bladder , prostate or the upper tract and kidney . It is usually a bacterial infection. The disease occurs in roughly three to seven of every 10,000 people in the United States. The occurrence in pregnant women is about 2 percent. It is readily treatable if diagnosed early.
A bacteria called Escherichia Coli causes about 90 percent of kidney infections. The bacteria migrate from the genitals through the urethra into the bladder and up the tubes that connect the bladder to the kidneys.
Some bacteria, such as staphylococcus infections, can enter the kidneys from the bloodstream.
Read Also: Yeast Infection Resistant To Diflucan
Bladder Infection Vs Kidney Infection
The main difference between a bladder infection and a kidney infection is when bacteria have built up and infected the urinary tract system. Although most kidney infections result from untreated bladder infections that migrate to the kidneys, a kidney infection can occur in other ways.
Overall, bladder infections are more common than kidney infections and considered less complicated, especially since kidney infections can lead to serious illness if infections spread through the bloodstream.
A critical difference between bladder infection and kidney infection symptoms is the increased likelihood of illness associated with the infection migrating to the kidneys. The signs and symptoms of a bladder infection that can remain the same even after the infection spreads to the kidneys include:
- A fever remaining under 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Pain and pressure in the pelvis
- Painful or burning urination
- Dark and cloudy urine that may appear red from blood
- Bad-smelling urine
- Pain in the abdomen
Additional signs and symptoms that indicate an infection has spread to the kidneys include nausea, vomiting, chills, shaking, a fever exceeding 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and, particularly in the elderly, confusion.
Symptoms Of A Kidney Infection
Common symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- Pain in your back, side, or groin
- A feeling of needing to urinate, even though you just did
- Painful, burning, and/or frequent urination
- Cloudy or bad-smelling urine
- Blood or pus in your urine
Symptoms can vary by age. Babies and older people might not have the common symptoms. Instead, they may have slurred speech, dizziness, or confusion. Get medical care right away if you have any of these symptoms.
Donât Miss: Are Grapes Good For Kidney Stones
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.
What Antibiotics Are Used For The Treatment And Cure Of Kidney Infections
The most important component of the treatment of kidney infection is the prompt administration of antibiotics. As soon as the diagnosis of UTI or kidney infection is made by an analysis of urine, antibiotics need to be started. Typically, a strong antibiotic is started first, one which would be effective in treating all typical bacteria suspected of causing the infection. Once the actual bacteria are recovered and their sensitivity is determined, then a different antibiotic may be selected if the bacteria show resistance to the antibiotic that was originally started.
Several types of antibiotics are available and used to treat kidney infection. The choice depends on specific situations, clinical setting, tolerance, allergies, and ability to take oral medications.
Some of the common antibiotics used include
The doctor diagnosing the kidney infection can determine what is the most appropriate in a given situation.
Similar to any infection, a routine follow-up with the physician treating the kidney infection is important to assure that therapy has been effective. More immediate follow up may be necessary if the symptoms of the infection do not improve after a few days of antibiotics and supportive care. In such cases, further investigation may be necessary to rule out a complicated kidney infection and to assure that the organism causing the infection is sensitive to the prescribed antibiotics.
Donât Miss: Pomegranate Juice For Kidney Stones
You May Like: Over The Counter Antibiotics For Bladder Infection
Treatment For Utis Vs Kidney Infection Treatment
UTIs, including kidney infections, can be treated with a course of antibiotics. The type of antibiotic can depend on the type of bacteria thats causing your infection as well as how severe your infection is.
The doctor will often start you on an antibiotic that works against a wide variety of UTI-causing bacteria. If a urine culture is performed, the doctor may switch your antibiotic to one thats most effective at treating the specific bacterium thats causing your infection.
Simple UTIs can be treated with short 3- to 5-day courses of antibiotics. Treatment for kidney infections generally lasts 7 to 14 days, depending on which class of antibiotic is prescribed.
You may begin to feel better after only a few days on antibiotics. However, you should still make sure that you complete your entire treatment course as prescribed. If you do not take all of your antibiotics, the stronger bacteria may not be killed, causing your infection to persist and flare up again.
If youre pregnant, your doctor may also request a repeat urine sample following a kidney infection, even if your symptoms have resolved. This allows them to check to see whether your infection has completely cleared.
If there are still bacteria present in the sample, you may need another course of antibiotics. Persistence of bacteria can potentially harm an unborn baby.
People with severe kidney infections may need to be hospitalized. In this case, you may receive antibiotics and fluids intravenously.
What Are Utis And Kidney Infections
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract the urethra, bladder and kidneys. Normally, your body flushes out harmful bacteria with urine. However, sometimes bacteria can still travel inside and infect the urinary tract. Infections can develop after having sex, using vaginal douches or spermicides, or when the bladder doesnt empty.
Women get UTIs more frequently than men because a womans urethra is shorter than a mans, which allows bacteria to reach the bladder more easily. However, men can still get UTIs. People with diabetes and those with weakened immune systems may also be at higher risk for UTIs.
Kidney infections are a type of UTI. Most kidney infections occur when bacteria that infect the lower urinary tract travel to one or both kidneys. Kidney infections can be serious, and its important to treat them soon to avoid getting very sick.
UTIs cause pain or burning during urination. You may also have:
- Cloudy, bloody or foul-smelling urine
- Difficulty urinating
A kidney infection can also cause the symptoms listed above, as well as:
- Pain in the back, side or groin
Your doctor is ultimately the best person to decide if you have a UTI or kidney infection, Dr. Watson says. At your exam, discuss any ongoing symptoms, and your doctor will arrange for testing.
Doctors typically will order a urine test, which involves taking a small sample of urine and sending it to a laboratory to be analyzed for bacteria and white blood cells.
Read Also: Does Monistat Treat Yeast Infections
What Does A Kidney Infection Feel Like
Generally speaking, the symptoms of a kidney infection tend to come on over a period of several hours to a day. The symptoms may include:
- Pain. This is often a dull, aching type of pain that most commonly affects the back, side, or abdomen.
- Urine changes. If you have a kidney infection, you may notice that your urine is cloudy, smells bad, or contains blood.
- Urgent, painful urination. A UTI can irritate the lining of your urinary tract. As a result, you may feel the urgent need to urinate and experience a painful, burning sensation when you do so.
- Fever. People with a kidney infection typically develop a fever, which can often be high. A raised temperature is one of your bodys ways of trying to fight the infection.
- Chills.Chills are a feeling of being cold without any apparent cause. For example, you could be wrapped up under a blanket and still shiver or feel very cold. In extreme cases, chills may lead to episodes of strong, uncontrollable shaking, which are known as rigors.
- Nausea or vomiting. The infection may cause you to feel nauseated or to vomit.
Its important to note that you may not have all of the above symptoms with a kidney infection. If you develop concerning symptoms that may point to a kidney infection, seek prompt medical care.
What Are Kidney Infections
Your kidneys are the 2 bean-shaped organs that filter waste products out of your blood and make urine. Sometimes a kidney gets infected by bacteria.
Kidney infections are usually caused by the spread of bacteria up your urinary tract to your kidneys
A kidney infection usually causes chills, fever, and back pain
Kidney infections are more common in women than in men
Most kidney infections can be cured with antibiotics
Read Also: Can Strep Cause An Ear Infection
Signs Of A Kidney Infection
What does a kidney infection feel like? According to the NIDDK, the most common kidney infections symptoms are:
But depending on a persons age, they may not experience all of these kidney infection symptoms. Children younger than two may only experience high fever as a sign of kidney infections, the NIDDK says, and people older than 65 might only present with cognitive issues, like confusion, hallucinations, and disorganized speech.
Medical Treatment For Kidney Infections
Antibiotics are always the first line of defense against a kidney infection. If the kidney infection isnt severe, a doctor will likely give you oral antibiotics to take once or twice a day for 10 to 14 days.
Its important to take the entire course of antibiotics, even if you feel better within several days, as stopping early could lead to antibiotic resistance or re-infection. A doctor will also encourage you to drink plenty of water.
In some cases, kidney infections may require admission to the hospital. Youll be given fluids and antibiotics intravenously through an IV, both of which can help treat the infection.
In addition, lab work and imaging may be done to determine the severity of infection as well as the cause, such as a blockage due to a kidney stone or anatomical abnormality.
If you have recurring UTIs that increase your risk of frequent kidney infections, a doctor will help you establish the cause of their frequency and help you prevent further infections from occurring.
You May Like: How Many New Hiv Infections Per Year
How Are Kidney Infections Treated
A physician will treat the disease based on his or her examination. He or she may start the patient on the standard treatment of a course of antibiotics before the lab tests results are available. The medication may change once the exact strain of bacteria is revealed by the lab tests.
If the treatment is effective, the patient should feel better in two to three days. If not, your healthcare provider will start looking for additional problems. Most antibiotic treatments last for 14 days and it is essential that patients take the pills as recommended for the full 14 days even though symptoms may disappear after a few days. The disappearance of symptoms does not mean all bacteria are killed. Some may remain and the infection may reappear.
There is also a concern that those bacteria that remain may develop resistance to the medication. For some reason the disease is more difficult to treat in men and they may have to take medication for up to six weeks. Patients with severe illness, those that have significant nausea and vomiting, high fevers, significant pain and signs of dehydration may be hospitalized for a few days while the antibiotics are administered intravenously. Urine samples are taken after about six weeks of treatment and examined to insure the bacterial infection is eradicated.