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How Does A Doctor Test For Kidney Infection

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Blood Tests To Diagnose Kidney Infection

How can I be tested for kidney disease?

The kidney is one of the vital organs in the human body. It filters waste products of the blood into urine and excretes from the body. Any dysfunction of the kidneys can result in the accumulation of waste products in blood along with excess fluid. Infection is a major cause which can cause acute kidney injury and sometimes can proceed into chronic renal failure.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent complications which occur due to a chronic kidney infection. Children are more susceptible to develop complications due to kidney infection. This is because post infection induced kidney injury scarring can occur in the developing kidney of the child. In order to minimize the bad outcomes, the clinicians practice many diagnostic blood tests for a kidney infection.

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How Can You Tell If You Have Blood In Your Urine

Alternatively, some people have very small traces of blood in their urine which cannot be seen but are found when a dipstick is put in a sample of their urine. Your kidneys make urine continuously. A trickle of urine is constantly passing to your bladder down the tubes which run from the kidneys to the bladder.

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Can A Doctor Diagnose A Uti Without An In

A healthcare provider can definitely diagnose a UTI without seeing you in person. In fact, this is how telemedicine works, and it is a safe and effective way to treat basic UTIs. There are many good telemedicine options you can use including GoodRx Care .

If you are a healthy, non-pregnant woman with typical UTI symptoms, you may just need to talk to a provider to get a diagnosis and treatment. This can be done with a phone call to your provider or through a telemedicine visit. If youre going to start antibiotics, you can usually pick up antibiotics at your pharmacy on the same day.

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What Is The Best Way To Prevent Kidney Infections

Although UTIs and kidney infections arent 100 percent preventable, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk:

  • Regularly drink plenty of water to help flush your urinary tract. Cranberry juice can also help ward off UTIs.
  • Eat a high-fiber diet, as constipation can lead to kidney infections.
  • Perform pelvic exercises to help strengthen the bladder, which can prevent slow leaks that lead to bladder infections.
  • Dont hold it. Use the restroom as soon as you feel the need to urinate.
  • Avoid using spermicide-coated condoms or diaphragms and choose lubrication to prevent pain and tearing that can lead to UTIs.

If you think you may have a UTI or kidney infection, visit your nearest GoHealth Urgent Care, we’re a team of healthcare professionals who can help diagnose and treat your symptoms.

GoHealth Urgent Care partners with these regional healthcare providers:

What Are The Symptoms Of A Kidney Infection

Kidney Biopsy

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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How Are Kidney Infections Diagnosed

Two common laboratory tests are performed to diagnose kidney infections . A urine sample is examined under a microscope to determine if white and/or red blood cells are present. The urine is also sent to the lab to see if bacteria grow in a urine culture. If a person is very sick, blood cultures may also be sent. The strain of bacteria that are cultured will determine the type of therapy used in your treatment.

Pyelonephritis can often be treated without X-ray studies, unless your doctor suspects there may be an addition problem. CT scans produce images of structures and organs and these scans are usually done without contrast . A renal ultrasound may sometimes suffice for evaluation.

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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What Are The Symptoms Of An Acute Kidney Infection

Signs and symptoms vary with age:

  • Newborns: no fever but poor feeding and vomiting
  • Children < 2: may have a fever , a poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Children > 2: fever, appetite changes, stomach or lower back pain, symptoms of urgency, frequency and pain with urination

If a toilet trained child is having accidents during the day or night, it may be a sign of an infection. Typically a childs urine will have a strong, foul odor, and there may be blood in the urine.

Can Kidney Infection Be Prevented

How do you check for kidney disease?

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.

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Lab Tests For Kidney Infection

The most common lab tests to help diagnose a kidney infection are two types of urine test:

Urinalysis For this test, youll urinate into a container at your doctors office or lab. A sample of your urine will be viewed under a microscope, to look for bacteria or white blood cells, which can indicate an infection.

Its possible for healthy people to have bacteria in their urine, so its important for urinalysis results to be viewed in the context of your symptoms, rather than as definitive evidence of an infection.

Urine Culture To help determine what kind of bacteria are causing your infection and guide your treatment, a sample of your urine may be placed in a container where the bacteria can grow for one to three days.

In some cases, your doctor may order a blood test to look for signs of an infection. This can involve two different tests:

Peripheral Blood Smear For this test, a thin layer of your blood is viewed under a microscope to look for an elevated white blood cell count and for neutrophils, the type of white blood cells that fight infection.

Blood Culture A sample of your blood is placed in a container to encourage bacterial growth, then examined over one to three days for bacteria that would indicate an infection.

While 20 to 30 percent of kidney infections show positive blood culture results, theres little evidence that this testing helps guide treatment or improve outcomes, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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.

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What Uti Strip Test Indicators Mean


Studies show that UTI test strips may only be reliable about 30% of the time.

My urine was visibly cloudy and it burned when I went to pee. My doctor used a UTI test strip in my urine sample and said everything on the test strip was normal. I was told I didnt have an infection even though Ive had UTIs before and I know exactly what they feel like.

Some studies have bluntly concluded that UTI test strips should be abandoned as a tool for the diagnosis of UTIs in patients with lower urinary tract symptoms.

Given the low accuracy of UTI test strips, if the results are negative but you have UTI symptoms, it would generally be recommended that you have a urine culture test done in a lab.

Which brings us to the next problem

What Causes Urinary Tract Infections

Kidney Infection Urine Test Results

Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli, which you might know as simply E. coli.

These bacteria are responsible for about 90% of all uncomplicated urinary tract infections. E. coli are found in the colons of humans and animals and in their fecal waste. When E. coli or other bacteria end up in the urethra, they cause a urinary tract infection.

There are other types of bacteria also known to cause UTIs. According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information the most common bacteria to cause UTIs are:

  • Escherichia coli
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Streptococcus spp. , Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococci were each found to be the third pathogens in different periods during the two-year study.

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How To Check For Kidney Infection

Are you feeling a little under the weather? Do you have a fever, chills, a burning feeling or pain when urinating and a general sense of not feeling well? Its possible that you have a kidney infection. Although they are not common, its important to be able to recognize the symptoms and get treatment if needed.

In this article, well discuss how to check for a kidney infection and what to do if you think you might have one.

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.

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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.

How A Kidney Infection Is Diagnosed

Testing and Treatment for Kidney Disease

Diagnosing a kidney infection involves assessing your symptoms, testing your urine, and sometimes other tests.

Diagnosing a kidney infection involves assessing your symptoms, testing your urine, and sometimes other tests.

A kidney infection usually happens when a urinary tract infection spreads from your bladder up through the tubes that connect the bladder to your kidneys. Less commonly, it can happen when a blood infection spreads to your kidneys.

Its important to see a healthcare provider right away if you experience symptoms of a kidney infection, which include painful or frequent urination, cloudy or smelly urine, fever and chills, pain in your lower back or side, and nausea and vomiting. If it isnt diagnosed and treated promptly, a kidney infection can cause both immediate and long-term severe complications.

To diagnose a potential kidney infection, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. Youll also most likely be asked about your history of health conditions, to determine whether youre at increased risk for a kidney infection.

Your doctor will also perform a physical exam to see if you have any redness or tenderness on your torso thats consistent with a kidney infection.

If your doctor suspects a kidney infection at this point, youll be asked to give a urine sample for lab tests to look for a bacterial infection.

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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 youâre taking warfarin, a medicine used to prevent blood clots. Cranberry juice can make the effects of warfarin more potent, so thereâs a risk of excessive bleeding.

Types Of Kidney Infection

Kidney infections can be acute or chronic.

An acute kidney infection is one that goes away after treatment.

A chronic infection comes and goes, or may never go away properly. This type of infection can damage the kidneys. It usually occurs if there is a problem that causes urine to flow backwards from the bladder and up into the kidneys.

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Getting Tested For A Uti

Testing for a UTI usually takes place in a doctors office, laboratory, or hospital. Most tests for UTIs involve a urine sample obtained by clean-catch or catheterization. Your doctor can help determine which method is appropriate for you.

  • Clean catch urine samples are collected by patients with special precautions to prevent outside germs from getting into the urine sample. Patients are given instructions on obtaining a clean catch sample and avoiding contamination.
  • Catheterization involves inserting a thin rubber tube through the urethra into the bladder. When performing this procedure, the urine is collected in a sterile container for testing before removing the catheter.

Imaging Tests For Kidney Infection

Blood Test For Kidney Infection

Its usually unnecessary to order imaging tests to diagnose a kidney infection, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Cases in which an imaging test may be helpful include:

  • Your symptoms dont improve with treatment
  • Your infection recurs
  • Your doctor suspects a structural abnormality in your urinary tract

If your doctor believes that imaging tests are necessary, the following options are available:

Computerized Tomography Scan This test takes a series of X-ray images from different angles, which a computer combines to create detailed images of tissues in your body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging This test uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of organs and tissues.

Ultrasound This test uses sound waves to create images of tissues. But since sound doesnt travel well through certain tissues, like bone, ultrasound has limitations.

Intravenous Pyelogram This test involves injecting a dye into your arm, then taking X-ray images of your urinary tract to look for signs of swelling or other abnormalities in your kidneys and bladder.

Voiding Cystourethrogram This test is similar to an intravenous pyelogram, and involves taking X-ray images of your bladder when its full and while youre urinating.

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How Common Are Kidney Stones

Researchers have concluded that about one in ten people will get a kidney stone during their lifetime. Kidney stones in children are far less common than in adults but they occur for the same reasons. Theyre four times more likely to occur in children with asthma than in children who dont have asthma.

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How Do You Know If Something Is Wrong With Your Kidneys

If you would simply like to check in on your kidney function, one of the most reliable ways to find out more is through a test this can be done with your local doctor or from home with LetsGetCheckeds at-home lab test.

Constant fatigue, difficulty sleeping and poor appetite, as well as the signs mentioned above, can also be indicators that your kidney isnt functioning how it should. If you are concerned about your kidney health, its important to reach out to your doctor or a medical professional to find out more.

The best way to check your kidney function from home is with a home test kit. The process is simple:

  • The test is shipped directly to you by next day delivery
  • Activate your test and answer a few health-related questions
  • Your health record will be reviewed by a medical team member and should you need any support services, they will be provided
  • Collect your sample at a time that suits you
  • Send your sample back to our laboratory using the pre-paid shipping label provided
  • Your sample will be processed in an anonymous and timely manner
  • Your results will be reviewed by our team of doctors. A member of our nursing team will contact you to deliver your results, discuss any next steps and offer prescriptions in some cases
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